Vicki Russo started swimming as an infant and never stopped. Living in Southern California, by age four, she began her life long journey and career in aquatics.
In 1987, Vicki began working for the City of Pacifica as an assistant coach for the Pacifica Sea Lions Swim team under the guidance of head coach Marcus Nava. In 1991, she took over as the head coach, a position she held for the following nine years.
During her years as head swim coach, she helped many Pacifica children learn to swim and then to compete at many different levels of competition. Pacific Swimming, one of the largest USA Swimming’s regional associations, tapped into Vicki’s knowledge of swimming and asked her to coach and do presentations at age group swim camps.
Pacific Swimming asked her to coach teams at Western Zones Age Group Championship meets. The all-star team is comprised of the fastest swimmers in the Bay Area. She coached at Santa Clara in 1993 and again in 2001 in Maui, Hawaii.
In 2000, the City moved Vicki into a management position to run the aquatic programs. This opportunity was one that Vicki embraced; however, there was one drawback; she had to stop coaching the Sea Lions. The City wanted her to focus on running the Jean Brink Pool, located on the campus of Oceana High School, and its programs. The programs grew and new programs were introduced and thrived.
Seeing the need for more safety training, Vicki became a certified American Red Cross Instructor in lifeguarding, CPR, first aid, safety training for swim coaches, emergency responder first aid, and an instructor trainer for lifeguard instructions. Through United States Swimming, she has been a registered swim coach for 30 years. In 2001, Vicki earned the City’s Employee of the Year award for her accomplishments towards water safety, staff training and increased programming. There were many challenges during this time including overseeing the remodeling of the Brink Pool.
During her time as Aquatic Coordinator, she served on the board of directors of the Bay Area Public Pool Operator’s Association (BAPPOA). In 2001 and 2007, she was honored by the California Park and Recreation Society for her contributions. In 2014, BAPPOA presented her the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2013, Vicki was asked by the City to step back into a coaching position for the Sea Lions swim team. Very happy and excited to do so, Vicki began coaching again. In 2014, she retired from the City and the job of Aquatic Coordinator. After waiting her six-month retirement stipulation, Vickie returned to coach once again.