COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State synchronized (artistic) swimming team welcomes back three-time national champion Monica Velazquez-Stiak as an assistant coach, Holly Vargo Brown announced Thursday.
“I am very excited to welcome Monica back into the Buckeye family,” Vargo Brown said. “She possesses a wealth of elite-athlete experience and outstanding choreography skills, which will most certainly benefit our program. It is extra special when a former student-athlete moves into the coaching realm, and I could not be more ready to start our new journey together.”
Velazquez-Stiak returns to Ohio State after serving as the athlete safety and membership manager for USA Artistic Swimming. In her role, she oversaw athlete safety and SafeSport initiatives and policies as well as membership services and administration for clubs and individuals. While with USAAS, Velazquez-Stiak also worked with the National Team programs and talent ID training camps.
Velazquez-Stiak was a student-athlete for the Buckeye synchronized (artistic) swimming team from 2014-18. During that time, she helped the program to three national championships (2015, 2017, 2018) in addition to her four individual titles. The Phoenix, Ariz. native is a two-time U.S. Collegiate National Championship Individual High Point Award winner and was the 2018 Big Ten Medal of Honor finalist.
“I take great pride in being a Buckeye and it means the world to me that I get to come back to my alma mater,” Velazquez-Stiak said. “To be able to work under Holly and learn from her as a coach like I did as an athlete is an honor and I can’t wait to see what we can create together.”
On the international level, Velazquez-Stiak was a four-time Team USA member and was a member of the 2017 World Championship team. In 2021, she was the National Team coach at the inaugural Junior Pan-American Games and served as a Junior National Team consultant that same year. She also served as an assistant coach for US Artistic Swimming at the 2022 French Open.
After completing her undergraduate degree in sport industry in 2018, Velazquez-Stiak served as the assistant director for the Ohio State camps department. In that role, she helped coordinate camp preparation, facility scheduling, finances and camp attendees in addition to other responsibilities. She also earned her master’s in sport management in 2020.