May 5, 2014
HOUSTON - Houston Swimming and Diving announced Yulia Pakhalina as the program's assistant coach for diving, elevating her from her current role as the interim diving coach.
Pakhalina has led the UH divers since January and guided the program through a successful campaign culminating in her being named The American Diving Coach of the Year. The Cougars turned in a strong showing at the conference championships under Pakhalina highlighted by Natasha Burgess being named the Outstanding Diver of the Year honors. Burgess, Taylor Olanski and Danielle Shedd combined for five all-conference performances as the Houston divers showed strong during the Championships.
Pakhalina also helped guide Taylor Olanski to the NCAA Championships where the freshman earned second team All-American honors for her performance on the platform.
"I'm extremely thrilled about this announcement," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades. "Yulia is one of Houston's all-time great student-athletes. She knows what it takes to succeed and develop our student-athletes here at UH. The job she did on short notice this past season was tremendous and I expect her to continue the great work that she accomplished last season."
The former Houston diver and Russian Olympian carries an impressive track record to the position of head diving coach. The native of Penza, Russia, won an Olympic Gold Medal with former UH head diving Jane Figueiredo as her coach in the 3M synchronized diving event during the 2000 Sydney Games. During 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) and totaled five national championships during her career in the Red and White. 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 has remained active in the diving scene in Houston working as part of the coaching staff of the Cougar Diving Club before serving as the interim diving coach.
Pakhalina is married to Mohammad Anwar and the couple has a daughter Sufia Anwar.
Head swimming coach Rich Murphy and Pakhalina embark on their second seasons leading the Houston Swimming and Diving program when school resumes for the 2014-15 season.