Mike Collins

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Michael Collins

Mike Collins is the decorated head coach of the Irvine Novaquatics and an open water swimmer and triathlete. Collins has been the Nova Masters Head Head Coach since November 2000. Before that he coached at UCLA for four years and the Davis Aquatic Masters for 8 years. He has an extensive background in coaching swimmers and triathletes of all ages and abilities.

Additionally, Collins travels around the country to coach swimming, triathlon, and running clinics. Although his main background was in swimming, he has taken many of the concepts used in swimming technique, drills, and interval training and applied them to running and cycling as well.

Collins continues to compete in triathlons, running events, swimming events (both in the pool and open water), and road and mountain cycling. In triathlons he race from sprint to half Ironman distance. He often wins his age group and finishes as one of the top overall amateurs as well. He was the 2002 World Aquathlon amateur champion in Cancun (2.5K Run, 1K Swim, 2.5K Run).


In addition to coaching and racing, Collins is a well known author. His articles have appeared in SWIM magazine, Swimming Technique, TRIATHLETE magazine, Triathlon Today, American Swimming, and many other national publications.

Coaching Specialties

  • Educating coaches and athletes on the latest technique and training methods.
  • Teaching technique through the use of underwater video analysis.
  • Communication with coaches and athletes through the use of the internet.
  • Motivating athletes of all abilities to perform to their potential.
  • Teaching inexperienced athletes comfort in the water and efficiency.
  • Teaching pacing, strategy, and racing tactics.
  • Triathlon race preparation.

Coaching Experience

  • Irvine Novaquatics (NOVA) – Head Master’s Coach and Age Group Technique Coach. Collins has been with the Nova’s since Nov 2000. The Nova Masters are one of the top competitive programs in the United States, and he has done stroke technique work with several of the top age group and high school swimmers in the area.
  • Multisports.com – Collins is one of the online coaches for the Multipsort.com coaches network which includes triathlon and coaching legends Paula Newby Fraiser, Greg Welch, Heather Fuhr, Roch Frey, Paul Huddle, and Jimmy Ricitello.
  • United States Masters Swimming (USMS) - USMS Coach of the Year (1990) National Coaches Committee Chair (1992-1996, 2000-2002) FINA World Championships USMS Team Coach (2000 & 2002). USMS Olympic Training Center Camp Coach (1999, 2000, & 2004) Director of over 10 USMS Mentor Coach & Swimmer Clinics
  • USA Triathlon (USAT) - Level I Certified coach. Collins has coached at Jr. Development and Elite Development camps at the Olympic Training Center, and been a presenter at USAT Coaching Certiication Schools.
  • Pose Method Running Clinics Level 2 Coach. Coach Collins has been practicing Pose Method running since 1997 when he worked with Dr. Romanov at a USAT Jr. Development Camp in Roswell, NM. Since then he has been working to master the principles in his own running as well as with the athletes he coaches. He has continued to work closely with Dr. Romanov to help refine the teaching method and improve the clinic experience.
  • Fit Institute SlowTwitch (F.I.S.T.) Collins is certified as a FIST Certified Triathlon Bike Position Fitter using the system created by the inventor of the triathlon specific bike, Dan Empfield.
  • Total Immersion Swim Camps (TI) Senior Clinic Instructor. Has worked closely with Total Immersion founder Terry Laughlin, and other TI Instructors to develop the best school for learning to swim efficiently.
  • Bruin Masters Swimming (UCLA) Co-coach with Gerry Rodrigues 1997-2000 at one of the top masters programs in the nation. Bruin Masters are 250 strong and run approximately 5 workouts per day.
  • Davis Aquatic Masters (DAM) - Head Coach of the largest single Masters program in the country, from 1989-1997. He was selected as the youngest United States Masters Swimming Coach of the Year in 1990 at the age of 22.
  • UC Davis (UCD) - In addition to coaching Masters, Collins was an assistant coach at the University of California Davis Men’s Team from 1990-94. In his first year UC Davis placed 5th at the Division II NCAA’s. In 1992 the team to move up to 4th place. In 1993 Davis qualified a record 18 swimmers for nationals, and moved up to third.
  • American River College (Sacramento) - Collins headed the Men’s Swimming Team at ARC from 1995-1997. In his first year, 1995, the team won the Conference Championship for the first time in 12 years, qualified 5 swimmers for the state championships and broke 2 school relay records. Collins was named the Bay Valley Conference Coach of the Year for the accomplishments. In 1996 the team repeated as Conference Champions.

Video of Alternative Open Water Swimming Set

Triple Crown

The Nova Masters does it own version of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and 100x100s (one hundred one hundreds) with its Triple Crown pool swimming sets under the leadership of Coach Collins]]. The Nova Masters swimmers do a Triple Crown during the American holiday season. The three swims are as follows:

  • Part 1 includes 50 swims on a 1:40 interval for a total swimming time of 1 hour 24 minutes total time
  • Part 2 includes 75 swims on a 1:30 interval for a total swimming time of 1 hour 53 minutes total time
  • Part 3 includes 100 swims on a 1:20 interval for a total swimming time of 2 hours 14 minutes

Nova Masters Triple Crown pool swimming set

Global Swimming Summit

Collins is a featured speaker at the 2016 Global Swimming Summit, a free online summit hosted by Chris Ritter of Ritter Sports Performance that explains and describes open water swimming for people of all ages and abilities. Speakers at the Global Swimming Summit include: Gerry Rodrigues, Lesley Paterson, Gary Hall Sr., Mike Collins, Brad Kearns, Alex Kostich, Glenn Mills, Karlyn Pipes, Tyler Fenwick, Kevin Rindal, Kristian Manietta and Steph Saullo.

External links