Pakhalina brings an impressive track record to the position of interim head diving coach. The native of Penza, Russia, won an Olympic Gold Medal with Jane Figueiredo as her coach in the three-meter synchronized diving event during the 2000 Sydney Games. At the 2004 Athens Games, Pakhalina claimed a silver medal in the 3m synchronized diving and a bronze in the 3m individual springboard. She captured two silver medals (3m synchronized and 3m springboard) during the 2008 Olympics.
In her competition days at the University of Houston, Pakhalina was a two-time NCAA Diver of the Year (2001, 2003) as she totaled five national championships during that span. Pakhalina won 64 of the 66 collegiate diving events in which she entered as a Cougar with her only losses coming during the finals of the NCAA Championships.
Since retiring from life as a competitor, Pakhalina turned to coaching and has been alongside Figueiredo as part of the coaching staff on the Cougar Diving Club.
"I am excited for the start of Yulia's coaching for the program that she made such a significant impact on," said head swimming coach Rich Murphy. "Yulia is a huge part of our tradition of success and I am confident she will be an asset."