About Us

Behind the Scenes at Houston Aquatic Center

Houston Aquatic Center is the vision of Greg Orphanides, Coogs Aquatics Head Coach, and Helena Finley former All-American swimmer and South African National Champion.  Both immigrants to Houston wanting to give back to this incredible city.  You can reach us at info@HoustonAquaticCenter.org

Greg Orphanides

Greg has been involved in swimming for over 20 years, and throughout that time has been successful both in and out of the pool.  

As a swimmer, Greg always strove for his goals and pursued excellence. At the height of his career Greg represented Great Britain for 10 years at various national and international competitions including the World and European Championships. 

Greg still competes in Masters swim meets and holds World and European records in both distance freestyle and IM events. 

As a coach, he has seen even more success progressing several athletes to National Standards. Prior to becoming the Head Coach at Houston Cougar Aquatic Sports, Greg was the Age Group Swimming Coach and Swimming Development Officer in Glasgow, Scotland where he was responsible for organizing all swimming lessons in addition to managing over 40 swim teachers. 

Greg currently heads up Coogs Aquatics, a year-round swimming team. 

 Since joining COOGS, Greg has led the team to its best finish ever at Sectionals and guide swimmers to TAGS, Junior National, and National Championships.

Helena Finley

Helena Finley is a seasoned  regional VP of construction with broad expertise in planning, implementing, and evaluating the construction of large projects valued over $50,000,000 each. Prior to working for Morgan Group Development she managed the construction of high end class-A multi-family projects for Trammel Crow, Gables and Post Properties. In the past fourteen years she has been responsible for the construction of 22 major multi-family projects with a total of 5,491 units and a total combined cost of $478,088,308.00. Major projects include Gables Memorial Hills, Gables Park Plaza in Austin, Post Richmond,  Pearl CityCentre Projects and most recently the 10-level Whole Foods/Pearl Midtown Residences 

Helena was recruited from South Africa on a full swimming scholarship to the University of Houston where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree. Her career began in the hospitality industry working for Westin Hotels and Resorts as the Director of Restaurants. From there she worked in Education as a lecturer at the University of Houston’s College Hotel of Hotel and Restaurant Management and spent five years as President of Bradford School. In 2002 she made the transition to construction where she has on site management experience in the field as well as extensive project management experience. Most recently she has overseen the construction of seven projects in Texas for the Morgan group with a staff of 30 employees.

Helena and her husband, David of twenty eight years have three children and one grandchild. The Finley’s daughters graduated with degrees in Engineering and Earth Science from the University of Houston Honors College and Rice University. Their son is attending the University of Wisconsin Green Bay on a swimming scholarship.

Helena Volunteered to coach the Saint Thomas Episcopal Swim team that won 9 TAPPS D3 championship team titles.

Helena competed for the South African National Swimming team and was an All- American Collegiate swimmer. She has competed in many ultra-distance events including the Colorado River 100 mile kayak race, The Leadville 100 mile mountain bike race, several multi-day adventure races, triathlons, marathons and Iron Man Texas. 

Bayou City Aquatic Center Committee

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Doug Hall

Doug Hall is currently the Vice President of Special Projects for the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. He recently completed a two-year project as the President/CEO of the 2016 Houston Final Four Local Organizing Committee. Hall has previously worked for the Houston Rockets as the General Manager of the Toyota Center and for the Houston Dynamo as the General Manager of BBVA Compass Stadium.

A native Houstonian, Hall is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a Masters Degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University. He spent four years on active duty as a USMC Infantry Officer.  

Lina Sabouni

Lina Sabouni, co-founder and principal of AUTOARCH Architects, brings more than twenty years of experience in the delivery of architectural, engineering, and design excellence in the new construction of 21st century educational and work force facilities. Her body of work includes educational (K-12 and higher education) institutions; governmental, office and commercial buildings; medical facilities; and worship spaces.
A great believer in the public educational system and a recognized leader in the community, Ms. Sabouni has been called upon to reach out to those in the architectural, engineering and construction industry, as well as the business community, to rally support for several important Educational Bond Elections. This effort has included coordinating community meetings, and making presentations for public/community awareness and approval of the bonds. For the past 18 years, Ms. Sabouni has tirelessly chaired efforts to assist in passing these much-needed bonds in support of educational opportunities. Cultivating her relationships with both public and private entities, Ms. Sabouni was instrumental in obtaining several grants in support of the Houston, Texas public schools, and she has facilitated several joint programs creating synergies between higher education and other education organizations. Lina Sabouni has served as a board member for the Houston ISD Foundation, Fort Bend Education Foundation, Houston Community College Foundation, the Arab American Education Foundation, and the Bilateral US Arab Chamber of Commerce as the Education Chair.

Sven Schultz

 Since 1963, Sven Schultz’s family has been involved with aquatics in Houston. Most of Sven’s experiences around pools were at the Dad's Club in Spring Branch where Sven’s mom was the Executive Director or at the many city pools that had competitive diving facilities with 3 meter boards and towers. Sven was also was involved in diving shows which took place all over the city. Some of them were at River Oaks country club, The Briar Club, Shamrock Hilton and Astroworld. These experiences earned him a diving scholarship at the University of Houston plus gave me opportunities to compete all over America and Europe. 

Sven’s career has been mostly in Education.  He was a vocational teacher and a swim, dive and water polo coach for 17 years. During Sven’s coaching career, I qualified kids to the state tournament in all sports, helped them earn college scholarships and attend military academy's, we started our own summer swim league team, developed a water polo summer league and coached at Olympic sport festivals and at Olympic camps in Colorado Springs. IHe also spent 15 years in school administration and have recently retired. He and Monika have been married for 28 years. They have one son who attends Texas A&M in Galveston.

Sven’s current employment is running a diving club that is celebrating 30 years in serving kids in Houston. He currently has over 50 divers registered with AAU and conducts most of the practices in Pearland and League City.

Sven’s mother was recognized two years ago at the United States Olympic trails where she received the Innovation award by United States Diving which Sven accepted in her honor. Kuni sponsored the first USA Age group nationals at Glennbrook which was Houston's premier diving facility for many years. The system she developed for USA dive continue to be used today. Her legacy is a standard Sven works hard to live up to and hopefully the dedication of the Schultz family will continue to benefit kids in sports.

Larry J. McCarty

Larry J. McCarty Vice President Construction Project team member responsible for the construction management of projects in the Southwest Region. Education Bachelor of Science in Construction Science Texas A&M University, 1999 Career Highlights Vice President Construction responsible for management of the design and construction of the 1,800,000-square-foot 609 Main at Texas, located in downtown Houston. Vice President Construction responsible for management of the design and procurement of One Shell Plaza’s tenant security renovations for the Shell Oil Company. Improvements included the complete renovation of the plaza along with security improvements on all tenant floors. Construction Manager responsible for base-building improvements of the 1,228,000-square-foot One Shell Plaza and of the 566,000-square-foot Two Shell Plaza, located downtown Houston. Improvements included the repair of the exterior façade, replacement of all insulated glass units, complete renovation of the OSP central plant, TSP buss duct replacement, and various other base-building improvements. Construction Manager responsible for management of the construction of the 1,545,000-square-foot BG Group Place located in downtown Houston. Assistant Construction Manager responsible for the construction of the new office corporate headquarters campus for Sysco Corporation which includes a 12-story office structure, an eight-story office structure, and a seven-level pre-cast parking structure located in suburban Houston. Mr. McCarty joined Hines with more than seven years in the construction industry. He is a LEED® Accredited Professional, and has contributed to the development of institutional and commercial real estate representing approximately 6.9 million square feet of new construction and $1.07 billion in project costs.

Pete Wright

Coach Pete begins his 4th year as Head Coach and leader of FCST. In Pete's first three years leading FCST, the club continues to grow in an upward and positive direction. Coach Pete’s swimmers won the 2017 Southern Senior Zones Women's title and the 2015 NASA Junior National meet, while producing 2 new Olympic Trials qualifiers, 2 US Open Qualifiers, and multiple Winter and Summer Junior National Qualifiers. FCST also won USA Swimming Silver Medal Status in 2015 and 2016. In addition to the team’s Senior swimming success, Coach Pete created the new FCST Swim League to bridge Learn to Swim to the competitive team. Coach Pete is an ASCA Level 5 certified coach and currently serves GULF Swimming as an At-Large Board member.

Coach Pete comes to FCST having been the head coach of the Y-Spartaquatics Swim Club in Spartanburg, SC for 12 years. During his time at YSSC, the club grew from 85 to over 450 swimmers, grew from 4 to 12 different practice groups, added a satellite location, and grew to 5 full-time and 12 part-time staff. Coach Pete was also very involved in swimming administration and governance, serving as technical planning chair and senior vice-chair for South Carolina Swimming. 

Jeffield Jefferson

 During a 21 year Administrative Management career with the City of Houston, Jeffield managed and directed the administration, marketing, operations, financial and research/development of the Recreation & Wellness Division’s Aquatic Services. 

While functioning as a Grant Writer, Advanced Project Manager and Facilitator, Jeffield was responsible for managing projects totaling a value exceeding $600 Million dollars.  

During his tenure as Administrative Manager, Jeffield received the City of Houston BRAVO Award, the City’s highest Employee Recognition Award for its Highest Rated Manager of the Year in July 2009.

In October 2008, Jeffield was successful in guiding the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department to its first National Accreditation Certification, achieving the CAPRA Accredited Agency recognition.  On retiring on September 29, 2017, Jeffield became one of few managers to receive the City of Houston Mayor’s Proclamation Recognition for his Superior Management and Improving the Quality of Life in Houston   

From 2015 to 2017 he managed the Administration, Marketing and safe Operations of the City of Houston's Aquatic Programming of 38 Aquatic Centers 

consisting of 54 Outdoor Pool Facilities.  Management responsibilities included staff recruitment, selection, training and developing an Aquatic

Team of more than 300 managers, supervisors, lifeguards and support staff.  Negotiated all related Aquatic Operations contracts and agreements.