Vavina Lapham was named as Aquatics Director at Salem College on September 1, 2020. In this capacity she will serve as head coach for both Salem College and Salem Academy. With this new role, Lapham has also earned the distinction of being a licensed Chemical Pool Operator, a qualified Water Safety Instructor as well as a Lifeguard Instructor.
Lapham is also a member of American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA), College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) and USA Swimming. The 2020-21 season, Lapham’s first at the helm, will mark the first time in the history of Salem College swimming that a team will join an NCAA Division III conference. In each of the four previous seasons the Spirits competed as an independent.
Lapham joined the Salem College staff in 2019-20 when she accepted an assistant coaching role under then head coach Tim Hillen. Lapham took a key role in developing and recruiting for the Salem swim program, which captured 39 Top-3 finishes over the course of the season.
Lapham helped develop and enhance the collegiate career of junior Olivia Kleven, who established a single-season program-record for most Top-3 finishes (16) after competing in eight events over the course of the slate. Kleven also set the single-season program-record for most first-place finishes (eight) in 2019-20. Lapham provided Kleven the insight which helped her establish program records in the 100 individual medley (1:10.07), 200 breaststroke (2:51.76) and the 100 breaststroke (1:16.31).
With Lapham poolside at every meet, including the Guilford/Greensboro Dual on Jan. 18, 2020, Salem earned a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay with the team of Kleven, Corrin Shores, Rachel Black and Amy Stutzer, which notched a time of 2:30.50. They became the fifth unit in Salem swimming history to post a time of 2:30 or better, narrowly missing the fourth-best time in program history, which came on Feb. 2, 2010.
Lapham developed a love of swimming at a young age that has followed her through her entire life. A former competitive swimmer who graduated from South Stokes High School, along with being a surfer and record holder in backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, Lapham trained under coach Phyllis Steimel at the Rowan Aquatic Center in Salisbury, N.C.
She went onto attend Valdosta State and later the University of Georgia, where she earned her degree in exercise and sports science.
A former coach at Swim Atlanta, recognized traditionally as a USA Swimming Top-5 team, Vavina coached: Masters, Senior AM, Senior I-3 and Advanced Age Group. Under the guidance of USA Swimming Elite Level coach Landon Harris, she had the honor of working with some of USA Swimming’s most elite coaches & swimmers as an assistant with the U.S. National Team.
“I have had the extreme pleasure of coaching swimmers that have now moved to swim in Division I, II or III ranks,” said Lapham. “Schools such Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Arizona State, Mizzou, Emory and Georgia Tech to name a few.”
Lapham has also served as a Community Coach for Forsyth Central High School 7-A Swim Team and Otwell Middle School and is a USA Swimming and ASCA certified coach.
Vavina’s hobbies include: swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, scuba diving and surfing.
She has three kids (Brianna, Kacie and Brayden) and is looking forward to bringing her passion for swimming and coaching back to the community that she grew up in as a youth.