After competing on the UCLA women's water polo team, the U.S. Women's National team, and the U.S. Olympic team, Nicolle Payne enters her fourth year as assistant coach for the women's water polo program. She was previously an assistant coach in the 2005, 2002 and 2001 seasons. The former All-American goalkeeper from Cerritos captained the Bruin team from 1995-1998 and was a member of three national championship teams from 1996-98. In the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Payne was a member of the bronze medal women's water polo team.
In 2001, Payne served as assistant coach for the U.S. Junior National team when it captured the Junior National title in a 10-9 overtime victory over Australia. Payne also played in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and helped the U.S. bring home the silver medal. As goalkeeper for Team USA, she appeared in all seven games and recorded 19 saves, including eight against both Canada and Australia.
In 1998, Payne topped off her career at UCLA with her third national championship in as many years. She was named a first-team All-American, selected to the All-National Collegiate Championship Tournament team and was an All-MPSF selection. Her 2.77 goals against average and 225 saves set school records. In 1996, Payne was chosen as the National Player of the Year as a freshman.
Payne gained additional water polo experience as a starter on the 1995 U.S. Junior National Team that earned a gold medal at the Pan American Games. A three-year water polo letterman at Gahr HS under head coach Victor Flynn, Payne earned first-team all-league, team MVP, and All-CIF honors. Payne graduated from UCLA in 1998 with a degree in Biology, and her hobbies include surfing and skiing.