our coaches

The Meraquas of Irvine is proud to have a strong team of dedicated and highly credentialed coaches with extensive experience in coaching and judging.


Candy Hipp

Head Coach Candace "Candy" Hipp has coached the Junior, 16-19, 13-15, and 12&Under Age Groups to the national Junior Olympic level. She herself is a 1982 United States Junior Team Champion, a Senior National Finalist, and a Masters Champion, age 35-39, in duet, trio and team.  Candy's dedication to the team and her coaching approach can be seen in the video clip on the classes page.

Contact Coach Candy: candyhipp14@gmail.com

Barb Nesbitt

Barb Nesbitt swam on the USA National Team for eight seasons, capturing many individual and overall championship titles during her career. She was also a featured artistic swimming performer in Las Vegas’ Le Rêve - The Dream. Barb is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, where she combines her love for physical movement and a desire to help people achieve their goals. She has experience working with orthopedic pre- and post-operative care, strokes, Parkinson’s Disease, and Vestibular dysfunctions, as well as back pain, ankle sprains, and much more. In her free time, Barb continues to compete biannually in the Masters World Championships. She also partakes in an underwater torpedo league, triathlons, ironman racing, snowboarding, and Crossfit training.

Learn more about Barb Nesbitt's services (national and international coaching, choreography, strength & conditioning) at her website, H2O Performers

Nessa P

Nessa Parkinen

Nessa swam for Meraquas 1998-2007 and was part of 2004-2007 Junior National Team Finalist, 2000-2007 Age Group National Team Finalist, and 2007 Age Group National Trio Finalist. She also swam at University of Arizona SplashCats Synchronized Swimming: 2007-2011 and was a 2008 Collegiate National Club Champion, 2008-2011 Collegiate National Team Finalist, 2011 Collegiate National Duet Finalist, and 2011 Collegiate National Figures 5th Place Finisher.

As a Doctor of Chiropractor and wellness advocate, Nessa is dedicated to help her community move well and feel well. She is excited to combine her knowledge of biomechanics, strength and conditioning, and nutrition with her competitive artistic swimming background to help the Meraquas excel in every way.

Hailey Hipp

Hailey Hipp has a great time working with the class members, breaking down artistic swimming to the basics that beginner swimmers can understand and embrace.  She is a former team member of both the Southern California Coralettes and the Meraquas of Irvine and previously competed at the National Age Group Level.

Vector Drop Irvine
Vector Drop Irvine

Jessica Shipma

Coach Karen

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Vector Drop Irvine

Coach Leah