Coaching Staff

Coach Walid Head Coach

Coach Walid is a swim coach, personal trainer and a physical education teacher. He grew up in Tunisia, and was part of the National Swim and Water Polo Team. He spent most of his life as a high level athlete before transitioning to a coach. 

Coach Walid started his coaching career in 2008 and has experience coaching in schools and clubs in different countries including Tunisia, Switzerland, Zambia and the United States. Before arriving to the U.S., he worked alongside with gold medalist Olympian coaches and contribuated in helping his team to break a couple of national records and winning the Team of the Year award. Coach Walid helped a few swimmers achieve great results before getting recruited by Division 1 colleges in the U.S. with a full scholorship. 

Coach Walid was part of Team Santa Monica (TSM) coaching staff for about 4 seasons where he learned a lot and was able to take bigger roles. In TSM, coach Walid had the pleasure to work with all ages and all levels starting from beginners all the way to national qualifying swimmers and he contributed in a top 100 Age Group teams award: 41 Nationwide and 7th in California, out of thousands of other programs. He’s passion with swimming and he enjoys spending his time working with children, to help them improve and develop their skills.

Coach Walid has an incredible passion for swimming. He's been involved with the community for a number of years and is currently assisting the College Swim Team at UCLA. He feels honored to be working with Olympians and Junior/National Team members. 

Coach Walid is a member of USA Swimming and American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA). His dream of attending the Olympics is closer than ever after creating his own swimming program. He believes that anything can be possible as long as the hard work is consistent.

“Great things come from hard work and perseverance. NO EXCUSES” --Kobe Bryant

Shadi Eghbali Age Group Coach

Coach Shadi started swimming at the age of 3 and competing at the age of 4. She was a competitive swimmer in High School and University and began teaching swim lessons for all ages, coaching competitive teams as well. She coached several High Schools, Summer Swim camps, and Swim Clubs in
Southern California.

Coach Shadi was a volunteer Assistant Coach for Women’s Water Polo and a Swim Team at Los Angeles Valley College, an Ambassador and Lifeguard/Instructor at the American Red Cross Water Safety. She was a swim coach for FINA International; levels 2 and 3, a USA Swim Coach and Referee and USA Water Polo, a member of the ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) and became certified
through this organization.

Coach Shadi is so happy to be a part of H2O Swim Team to help the kids become water safe and experience the joy of swimming.

Jose Cortes Age Group Coach

Coach Jose has always been involved in aquatic sports. He learned to swim at an early age, but he didn't start competing until he was 13 years old for L.A. Rec and Parks at Banning Pool, where he swam year-round throughout high school. Additionally, he swam for Swim Torrance under coach Julio Zarate and for South Torrance High from 2016 to 2020, where he served as one of two swim captains for the Boys Varsity team. In 2019, he began working as a lifeguard for the city of Los Angeles at multiple pools in the South Bay. During this time, he gained experience teaching swimming skills to kids aged 7-17 and adults, covering a wide range of levels from basic water confidence to competitive swimming and diving teams.

Coach Jose became an Open Water Lifeguard, and in the summer of 2023, he worked under Junior Lifeguard Coordinator Vianne Kelly at Cabrillo Beach as one of four instructors. This experience ultimately contributed to his transition in  passion from swimmer to coach. He is thankful for his opportunity to grow with H2O Swim Team and looks forward to sharing his passion for the water with the children in the program.

Victoria Buitrago Assistant Coach

Coach Victoria, having grown up with numerous years of swimming background experience, started her aquatic journey with lessons at the young age of 6 months, shaping her commitment and instilling her love for the water.

Starting her competitive swimming career at Janet Evans with the FAST Swim team and later transitioning into varsity swimming during her high school freshman year, Victoria's specialties include the 50 and 100 Butterfly, 50 and 100 Free, as well as the 200 Free and 200 IM (Fly) Relays. In 2020, she obtained her CPR/AED, First Aid, and Lifeguard Certification, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to safety in and around aquatic environments. Extending her passion, Victoria shares her knowledge by teaching swimming lessons at the Santa Monica YMCA.

Victoria's transformative journey from athlete to coach has been fueled by the joy of coaching, allowing her to share her profound love for the sport, motivate others, and inspire the next generation of swimmers. Graduating from Pepperdine University with a BS in Business Administration in Spring 2024, she is currently pursuing a future MBA/JD degree. This educational background equips Victoria with valuable skills to contribute significantly to the growth and development of the H2O community.

With a focus on contributing to H2O's success, Coach Victoria aspires to create a positive and inspiring environment for swimmers of all ages. Particularly passionate about working with children, she aims to instill in them a passion for swimming that transcends the pool. Through unwavering dedication, motivation, and a positive coaching approach, Victoria seeks to make swimming a vibrant and empowering activity for everyone involved, fostering the next generation of Olympic Swimmers. 

Oliver Petherbridge Assistant Coach

Coach Oliver is a longtime resident of SoCal, a dedicated swim instructor and mentor who has been coaching swim, lifeguarding and coaching soccer for years all around Los Angeles. 

Having acquired an affinity for swimming at an early age, Coach Oliver began swimming competitively for Altadena Town and Country Club, and eventually moved to the Rose Bowl aquatics center. He has lifeguarded under the Red Cross at many pools and even in the ocean on Catalina Island with boy scouts. Due to his exceeding passion for sports, he has always gone above and beyond in the water and on the field to help his peers and pupils improve their fitness and compete for their dreams.

Coach Oliver is a current student at PCC with transfer plans to go on and study English at UCLA and Classical Education at Hillsdale College. Coach Oliver aspires to provide his H2O students a competitive and joyous extracurricular experience and bring their swimming goals to fruition.

Coach Oliver can't wait to see you all in the water!

Asher Bolanos Assistant Coach

Coach Asher, who is from San Francisco, got into instructing and coaching swimming back in 2015 at the age of 12 as a swim aid. By 15 years old he was running is own classes for students as young as 6 months old all the way up to adults. He taught In San Francisco, Dublin, and now Santa Monica. Coaching swim became a passion and something he very much enjoys.

Coach Asher participated in club swimming where he swam for Daly City Dolphins Aquatic Club and swam on his high school swim team for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons and was practicing 6 days a week and sometimes twice a day. He specialized in the 50, 100, and 200 butterfly and the 100, 200, and 500 freestyle. He also swam in the 200 medley and freestyle relays. Coach Asher also would swim in the pacific ocean with his club on the weekends. 

In 2018, Coach Asher recieved his CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguard certifications under American Red Cross which was recently renewed in December 2022. In the summer of both 2018 and 2019 he taught kids ages 12-14 basic first aid, CPR, and lifeguarding. After graduating high school in 2021 he became more involved in aquatics and started coaching more intense and advanced classes while working on speed, endurance, technique, and overall preparation for competition. 

Coach Asher began working for H2O Swim Team to further coach and motivate students to have a passion for swimming and hopefully one day bring students to compete at the olympics. Coach Asher also has a goal to make students water safe and strong swimmers. 

Benjamin Telanoff Assistant Coach

Coach Benjamin started swimming at the age of 4 and started competing with the YMCA at the age of 6. After the YMCA, he joined TSM, where he swam for 7 years, under Coach Walid for one of them, where he participated in numerous championship swim meets.


Coach Benjamin started teaching lessons in 2023, after getting his WSI certificate near the beginning of the year. With a desire to share his passion for swimming with others, he quickly started teaching lessons for the city. 


Coach Benjamin started working with H2O Swim Team in May of 2023, where he hopes to continue to share his passion with others.

Aracy Morales Assistant Coach

Coach  Aracy , pronounced Ah-raw-see also known as Coach Lala. I have been working with kids for 17 years, swimming for 14 years, and coaching for the past 10 years with Olympic Medalists. I've mentored children from all aspects of life: Deaf, mute, amputees, autistic, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc. Working with kids has definitely taught me the real virtue of patience, integrity, discipline and good ol' fun. My goal is to one day mentor my students all the way to the Olympics and being a part of H2O Swim Team is another stepping stone to the big leagues! Thank you Coach Walid!