The persistent growth of water polo in New York City is yielding tangible results. Two local age group clubs recently placed their athletes among the country’s top players, with one Brooklyn athlete receiving an unprecedented invite to train with young players in USA Water Polo’s top talent development program.
As a result of her outstanding performance two weeks ago at the 2018 Girls Olympic Development Program’s (ODP) National Championships in San Ramon, CA, Elektra Urbatsch of the Brooklyn Girls club—competing out of St. Francis Brooklyn—was invited to join the National Team Selection Camp (NTS) in the Development age group (birth years 2004 and later).
This is the first time a New York City girl has been invited to the country’s top age group camp, which consists of the best 70 players from all over the U.S. At the NTS Camp, the top 20 athletes in the country in their age group will be selected for inclusion in national teams at the Development, Cadet, Youth and Junior levels.
For Elektra’s mother, Nadia Georgiou, the experience was extremely positive despite the highly competitive nature of the sport.
“We are very happy for Elektra and grateful for the opportunity,” Georgiou said. “All the girls on the team were tough, inspirational and supportive. “
Coach Carina Giles of New Jersey, responsible for working with Development-age girls such as Urbatsch in the Northeast Zone, received the 2018 Coach of the Tournament Award for steering her squad to a 10th place finish.
The Mako Water Polo team of Imagine Swimming had two athletes invited to the 2018 Boys Olympic Development Program’s (ODP) National Championships last month in California. Chase Wilson, a set, represented the Northeast Zone while goalie Sebastian Parilov was invited to play with the Great Lakes (Michigan, Ohio) Zone. Both competed in the Development age group bracket.
According to Mako’s Head Coach Zoli Danko, Parilov was one of the final cuts for the Northeast Zone squad. He was then invited to get in the cage for the GLZ team. A week of a practice with their team—which included familiar faces from Northeast Zone clubs in Greenwich and Princeton—prepared Parilov for his ODP adventure.
Teammates on the Makos, Wilson and Parilov did not face each other in California; Wilson’s Northeast squad finished 4th while Parilov’s Great Lakes team was 15th.