On The Record with Leslie Entwistle, Water Polo Pioneer Growing the Sport in the Mid-Atlantic Region

To understand just how much American women’s water polo has changed the past four decades, just speak with Leslie Entwistle. A member of the first-ever U.S. Women’s National Team, in 1978, she competed at the 1978 World Aquatic Games in West Berlin, Germany, at the first-ever 1979 World Cup in Fresno, California and the 1981 World Cup in Sydney, Australia.

A 1980 graduate of Slippery Rock University, under Richard “Doc” Hunkler, the legendary swim and water polo coach, Entwistle earned All-America honors following her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

Since graduating with a degree in physical education, she has remained devoted to polo, coaching youth teams with the Naval Academy Aquatic Club and with the Capitals in Washington, D.C. as well as being a zone coach for USA Water polo from 2011 – 2016.

Entwistle, who recently took a position with The St. James, a massive 450,000 square foot sports complex in Springfield, VA, spoke with Swimming World about her impressive past—and the exciting future for East Coast polo she hopes to build upon.

To read Michael Randazzo’s interview w/Coach Entwistle, please click here.

Leslie Entwistle (far right) who launched the Narwhals (now Capitals) a decade ago. Photo Courtesy: Capital Water Polo

Leslie Entwistle (far right) who launched the Narwhals (now Capitals) a decade ago. Photo Courtesy: Capital Water Polo

On The Record with Eugene Prokhin, Head Coach for Y Pro Water Polo

ROOKLYN, NY. Recent growth of water polo in New York City’s most populous borough has been fueled by an influx of accomplished age group coaches who have experience with polo at the highest levels. Zoli Danko, who leads Mako Polo, hails from Hungary, where he played before joining St. Francis Brooklyn’s intercollegiate team. Bela Rex-Kiss and Andrei Draghici at the Brooklyn Water Polo Club played professionally—Rex-Kiss won a Hungarian League title with Vasas SC, while Draghici played for Romania’s Rapid Bucuresti and Sportul Studentesc.

But none of these coaches can match the pedigree of Y Pro Waterpolo’s Eugene Prokhin. Born in the Soviet Union prior to the 1991 break-up of the USSR, Prokhin achieved success with his native Kazakhstan national team, representing his country in the 2000 Olympics. Arriving in America a few years later, he was part of a Queens College team that finished third at the 2002 NCAA Men’s Water Polo Tournament.

Read all about Y Pro’s success building polo in Brooklyn at Swimming World.


2018 USA Water Polo Junior Olympics Day Six: Cinderella Has Jumped in the Pool

APTOS, CA. For the uninitiated, the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics resembles a vast, unimaginably intricate maze of teams and games and pools and schedules. But, in a tale as old as fire, when one team unexpectedly succeeds, the path becomes immediately clear: follow the underdog where they lead.

Such is the tale of the Brooklyn Hustle, a first-time participant at JOs.

Born out of a desire by New York City parents to give their daughters a chance to “play with the girls,” the Hustle are a hybrid of 14U players culled from teams all over the East, including Capital Water Polo in DC, the Makos Polo from Manhattan and the Brooklyn Water Polo Club. Not meshing at first because of their disparate locations and backgrounds, at JOs the squad of Sydney Barta, Bebe and Maggie Currie, Skye Gallagher, Rachel Obora, Genevieve Randazzo, Gigi Sandull, Olivia Smith, Elektra Urbatsch and Julia Wolfson has coalesced under the leadership of Head Coach Gabby Juarez to fashion outsized success.

Read all about the Hustle's great adventure in San Jose, California at Swimming World.

Maggie Currie in action. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

Maggie Currie in action. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne

A Sport Grows in Brooklyn: LIU to Add Women’s Water Polo in 2019

BROOKLYN, NY. In an announcement that surprised and delighted water polo watchers throughout the Northeast, Long Island University—whose campus in Downtown Brooklyn is minutes from Manhattan—recently announced the formation of a women’s water polo team that will begin play in 2019. Known primarily for the success of its men’s basketball and women’s softball and volleyball teams, LIU Brooklyn is vying to become the third Division I women’s program in New York City, joining St. Francis Brooklyn and Wagner College on Staten Island as members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

In a recent interview with Swimming World, Margaret Alaimo, Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator for the school’s athletics department, said that supporting women’s sports has been a long-standing institutional focus, so launching women’s polo in the Steinberg Wellness Center’s pool made perfect sense.

LIU Blackbird - coming to a pool near you next spring! Photo Courtesy: LIU Brooklyn Athletics

LIU Blackbird - coming to a pool near you next spring! Photo Courtesy: LIU Brooklyn Athletics

“It’s always been a priority for [LIU Brooklyn], and when we started to expand opportunities for women—going back to 1993—the addition of the first one was volleyball in 1994 and we went to soccer and golf, lacrosse, swimming, bowling and so on,” Alaimo said.

“As an urban campus with a pool, we thought it would be a great sport to start. We know there’s a lot of good, local competition and we think we could get into the MAAC and compete right away.”

Key to whatever future the Blackbird women’s water polo team might enjoy is membership in the MAAC. This is no simple task; for the majority of its sports, LIU Brooklyn caucuses with the Northeast Conference (NEC). Happily, there’s a good relationship with the MAAC, which like the NEC includes teams throughout the New York metropolitan region.

Three years ago when LIU Brooklyn Athletics went looking for a home for a new women’s field hockey squad, the MAAC readily complied. According to Rich Ensor, the MAAC Commissioner, past history will likely open doors for LIU to join NEC members St, Francis Brooklyn and Wagner in his conference.

“For LIU Brooklyn to join the MAAC in water polo it would have to apply for associate membership, which then would have to be reviewed by the MAAC’s administration and Council of Presidents,” Ensor said. “With LIU Brooklyn being in the MAAC’s footprint, there is opportunity for the institution to join the water polo league as an associate member.”

The pool at The David Steinberg Wellness Center. Photo Courtesy: LIU Brooklyn Athletics

The pool at The David Steinberg Wellness Center. Photo Courtesy: LIU Brooklyn Athletics

A host of interested parties welcomed the arrival of yet another NCAA varsity women’s polo team.

"We're thrilled that Long Island University has chosen to add women's water polo,” John Abdou, USA Water Polo Chief High Performance Officer, said in an email. “The utilization of their existing facilities and their dynamic location in Brooklyn make this a sound decision.

“The excitement of having another Northeast Conference (NEC) school add water polo strengthens the position of the sport nationally. We hope that the remaining NEC schools take advantage of the upswing of water polo both in the state of New York and around the country." he added.

“It’s fantastic in that it gives more athletes an opportunity to play at a higher level,” Megan Husak, St. Francis Brooklyn women’s head coach, said. “Adding another team to the MAAC gives a boost in strength [and is] helpful if our conference is to rise and be at a level that it should be.”

Now is an interesting moment for another women’s polo team from Brooklyn. Not only will a Blackbirds’ squad offset the recent elimination of women’s polo at Hartwick College in upstate New York, LIU is reacting to plans for a as yet-to-be-revealed residential tower on its expansive outdoor athletics fields—a proposal that will likely change the fortunes of its men’s baseball and women’s softball programs.

Megan Husak. Photo Courtesy: St. Francis Brooklyn Athletics

Megan Husak. Photo Courtesy: St. Francis Brooklyn Athletics

Against the backdrop of this impending construction, scheduled to begin in late 2019, Alaimo and her staff’s efforts to extend water polo’s reach in New York City are being scrutinized. With a full-time coaching position available, the Blackbirds hope to attract an experienced head coach who can quickly assemble a competitive team.

“We’re trying to find someone who’s humble, a good communicator, hardworking and who I would want my son or daughter to play for, “ Alaimo said. “I always put my mother’s hat on; as a parent I look for those qualities as if they were my own children that would come here and play.”

An experienced athletics administrator—she’s been at LIU Brooklyn for 29 years—Alaimo believes her school’s latest team will have a quick road to success.

“Maybe not 3 to 5 years, probably 2 to 3,” she speculated about competing for a MAAC title. “We feel like we could be up and running, have a healthy sized roster and the skill level to compete for a championship.”

The current impediment to a MAAC title is Wagner; the Seahawks have won the past five championships and currently boast a 44-match winning streak against conference foes.

Besides facilities, the biggest hurdle for any polo program is recruiting. Alaimo said that attracting experienced international players to her school’s urban campus will be an important part of developing a winning program. LIU Brooklyn has experience with foreign-born athletes, and is confident they will continue to be drawn to one of the world’s great cities.

“Being in New York City is a real attraction for international students, but it becomes a financial decision for them and for us—the investment they can make and then us working with them financially to make it work,” Alaimo said.

However the next few months progress, the exciting opportunity is two water polo teams from Brooklyn battling for local bragging rights in the country’s biggest city.

“It will be great to have competition that we can literally walk down the street to go play,” St; Francis’ Husak said. “Our basketball teams have the ‘Battle of Brooklyn’ which draws huge crowds.

“It will be exciting to have a Battle of Brooklyn, water polo style.”

This article appeared in the July 2018 Swimming World Magazine Bi-Weekly

Photo Courtesy: LIU Brooklyn Athletics

Photo Courtesy: LIU Brooklyn Athletics

Olympian Dana Vollmer Makes Lasting Impression at Women in Sports Discussion

In the era of #MeToo, where women are standing up to movie producers, politicians and the male establishment in general, a panel of impressive and accomplished women gathered recently at the all-girl Convent of the Sacred Heart School in New York City for a panel titled Women Empowered by Sports, part of Asphalt Green’s annual Big Swim Big Kick benefit.

Standing tall—literally and figuratively—was Dana Vollmer. Notable as one of the country’s most decorated female Olympians for her swimming exploits in the 2004, 2012 and 2016 Games, Vollmer was joined by Becky Burleigh, women’s head soccer coach at the University of Florida; New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera; Brooklyn Nets In-Arena host Ally Love; antitrust and sports attorney Karen Hoffman Lent; and Erin Shea, a Partner at Ernst & Young. The panel, moderated by WABC-TV meteorologist Amy Freeze, was held in front of approximately 150 adolescent and teen-age girls as well as many adults in Sacred Hearts’ immaculate gymnasium.

Swimming World was on the scene to speak with Vollmer, about her drive for success. For more on this story click here.

Amy Freeze, Carlina Rivera, Dana Vollmer, Erin Shea, Becky Burleigh, Karen Lent, Ally Love

Amy Freeze, Carlina Rivera, Dana Vollmer, Erin Shea, Becky Burleigh, Karen Lent, Ally Love

Ethan Moy, New York City Water Polo Player, Featured on Swimming World Website

Water polo may be a niche sport in New York City, but don't tell that to players like Ethan Moy, who have spent many years honing their skills in this most demanding of aquatic sports. 

Coached by Zoli Danko, as part of Mako Polo of Imagine Swimming, Moy walked on at Washington & Jefferson last fall for W&J Head Coach Nikola Malezanov. A graduate of the High School for Math, Science, Engineering at City College, Moy didn’t plan to play polo his freshman year, but the native New Yorker provide much needed depth to a thin Presidents roster.

Swimming World spoke with Moy last month about the challenges of playing polo in NYC and his new athletic career in Erie, PA, home of Washington & Jefferson.

Ethan Moy in action last fall for Washington & Jefferson. Photo Courtesy: W&J Athletics

Ethan Moy in action last fall for Washington & Jefferson. Photo Courtesy: W&J Athletics

New York City Kids Make Good at USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development Program

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.

2018 Northeast Zone Girls Development Squad. Photo Courtesy Nadia Georgiou

2018 Northeast Zone Girls Development Squad. Photo Courtesy Nadia Georgiou

The Fight for Hartwick Women's Water Polo; Sign The Petition!

An extraordinary efforts is taking place right now to fight the proposed elimination of the Hartwick Women's Water Polo program. One of the premiere polo programs in the East, on Wednesday the team was handed what amounts to a death sentence by a trio of Hartwick administrators—President Margaret Drugovich, Board of Trustees Chair Francis Landrey and Student Affair Committee Chair David Long—who announced that the program will cease to exist at the conclusion of this season.

Apparently, NO polo fan is accepting this threat; there are a number of efforts afoot to counter President Drugovich's decision:
- A Change.org petition which in two days already has more than 8,000 signatures. To sign the petition to save Hartwick Water Polo, please click here;
- Comments from leading polo coaches and long-time supporters of the sport. One interesting commentator is Todd Clapper, head coach for the Arizona State University women's team; his comments are below;
- An interview in Swimming World with Hartwick Head Coach Alan Huckins who is determined to see through a season that has his Hawks flying high at 12-2 (#13 in the country) and features, among others, Zsofia Polak and Lena Kotanchyan, two of the best players in the East.

As Coach Huckins points out, this is all about dollars and cents. What doesn't add up is—in an age where #MeToo points out how inequalities between men and women are (badly) negotiated—why a female university president would agree to shut down a sport that is all about empowering female athletes.

By Todd Clapper, Arizona State University

I understand the reasoning behind these decisions.  It is easy when you look at a budget and say, “If we got rid of these sports, look at how much we would save.”  Then, they work backwards to justify the budget cut (shallow end of the pool, not as competitive in soccer).

It's obvious that these decisions don’t take into account the current student-athletes and coaches, in addition to, all of the ones that have come before who have built these programs.  What is lost in this decision is the harm that it will do to the college.  Right now, Hartwick lists its enrollment at about 1,200 students and boasts that 3% are international from 20 different countries.  That is about 36 international students.  23 of these are on the soccer and water polo teams.  While 3% is not a huge figure, it would be 1% without these teams, which is not even worth a mention.  

They have a student body that is 59% female, but chose to keep the men’s sport and cut the women’s sport.  Interesting since this president was the first to hire someone to monitor Title IX on campus.  Outside of these specifics, there are some intangibles.  The president got her Master’s Degree from Brown, which is a university that  I spent 5 1/2 years at.  Brown was unlike Princeton and Harvard because it valued a diverse student body.  Not just checking boxes of where they are from and their ethnicity, but actually finding unique individuals.  Brown understands how this makes their university stronger and raises the academic experience. BTW, ASU’s Barrett Honors College has the same philosophy and is enormously successful.  

I hope that the trustees look at this decision from more angles and have the leadership to alter their decision and continue to sponsor these teams, as they have been.  If they don’t, in a couple of short years, they will be finding ways (and spending money to do so) to get more applicants from out of state and out of the country.  They are only creating a problem that they will have to solve later.  Soccer and Water Polo should be pride points for Hartwick College. They are very successful based on the size and location of the college.  These programs are why high school students outside of NY even know about Hartwick College.  Cutting these programs will have a long-lasting isolation effect on the college.


Before and After Nassar: Safe Sport for Water Polo Athletes in America

In the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal at USA Gymnastics, Swimming World recently published an examination of SafeSport, USA Water Polo’s protection for all its athletes, from children playing water polo for the very first time to U.S. Senior Men and Women National Team members who represent America in the Olympics.

With a particular focus on the culture around USA Water Polo in the Northeast, Swimming World conducted interviews with coaches as well as parents whose children’s safety rests not only on acute awareness of the danger of adolescent abuse, but also agreed-upon—and rigorously applied—standards and protections.

For more on this story—and its implications for the thousands of age group members of the world's largest water polo organization—click here.


Miras Jelic of Capital Water Polo Featured in Swimming World

Swimming World’s website features an interview with Miras Jelic, coach with Capital Water Polo in Washington, D.C. Formerly a professional player for Spartak Subotica in Serbia, Jelic came to America in 2008, and within a few years had establish a growing club in Richmond, VA at SwimRVA.

After her club was blown out in a 2015 scrimmage with Jelic’s upstart RVA Shark squad, Leslie Entwistle, head coach for Capital Water Polo, wisely offered him a job. The past three years his coaching career has blossomed the last three years. The Capitals have realized increases in membership and competitive opportunities, while Jelic's coaching opportunities have broadened, including a spot on the USA Water Polo Girls Northeast Zone staff.

At a recent youth tournament in Stanford, CT, where his Olympic Development Program (ODP) team was competing, Jelic spoke with Swimming World about coming to America, developing the sport in the Washington D.C. area, what water polo—their national sport—means to Serbians and the challenges of being an experienced coach in a community that has little history with the polo.

Read more about Jelic’s remarkable story of immigrant to successful age group coach here.


Holy Name Girls Swim Team Try-Outs @ Berkeley Carroll

On Friday October 13, the Holy Name Girls Swim Team will hold try-outs for the upcoming 2017-2018 season at the Berkeley Carroll pool. Girls born in 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2003 are invited to try out at 762 President St. in Park Slope.

If your daughter is interested in joining a a wonderful community of female athletes, please email head coach Liza Engelberg (hngirlsswimcoaches@gmail.com) with the following information: NAME, DATE OF BIRTH and HOME ADDRESS.

The Holy Name swim season runs from the beginning of November through the end of March, with practices on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Meets begin in January and take place on Friday evenings.

Berkeley-Carroll Pool

Berkeley-Carroll Pool

Snowball Showdown Kicks Off Eastern Youth Polo Season

At the recent Snowball Showdown, a BHSF U12 team finished fifth out of six teams, thanks to an 11-9 win over Chelsea Piers Gold team. BHSF dropped both of its games on the opening day of the tournament — 16-8 to Chelsea Piers Blue and11-7 to Greenwich Aquatics White.

For more information about the Showdown, now the largest youth polo tournament in the Northeast, please read a recent post about the event at Swimming World's website.

Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Piers Connecticut

Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Piers Connecticut

There’s A New Team in Town; Asphalt Green Scrimmages at St. Francis

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS. On an unseasonably warm January evening in Brooklyn, a new participant arrived on the New York City youth water polo scene and was immediately embraced.

Asphalt Green—featuring U12 and U16 squads sporting spiffy black and red caps and—ventured outside their spacious Upper East Side environs to scrimmage in the St. Francis College pool. Bela Rex-Kiss, Asphalt Green’s coach and a formerly onthe Terrier’s varsity men’s team, was understandably excited by two milestones taken last Saturday night by his fledgling program.

“This was the first time our Asphalt Green youth team played against another team, and away from our home pool,” he said in an email. “The game was a great learning experience for us. I'm thankful to our hosts and for the support of parents that made it happen.”

Acknowledging the importance of venturing into the Brooklyn youth water polo scene — where the city’s three other clubs reside — Rex-Kiss spoke of additional matches.

“These games are an invaluable opportunity to gain skills and experience, and moving forward Zoli [Danko, coach of the Imagine Swimming Mako Polo team] and I will continue to work together to organize them on a regular basis to the benefit of both teams.”

For Danko, who like Rex-Kiss left Hungary to compete for St. Francis, the scrimmage was a testament to the growth of the sport in the nation’s most populous city.

“We are excited to see another club emerging in the city,” he said via email. “Having Asphalt Green on the youth water polo map will help us creating a NYC league with local teams that can raise awareness of water polo among the thousands of young swimmers in our area.”

Then, striking a note that will be music to the ears of youth polo players all over the city who are eager to compete in one of the region’s finest aquatics facilities, Danko added:

“Hopefully, AGUA will be able to host youth water polo tournaments in the future at their beautiful pool in Manhattan. We look forward to taking the subway to Manhattan for away games.”

Youth Polo Tournament at St. Francis Brooklyn a Hit

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS. Saturday morning at the St. Francis College pool, the first-ever NY/NJ U12 water polo tournament took place, with six teams playing 2 matches apiece in front of a large crowd of parents and supporters.

The day’s winner was the Princeton Tigers Water Polo Club, which swept matches from host Brooklyn Heights St. Francis (12-8) and Y Pro Water Polo Club (13-5). BHSF won their other matches by 12-7 over Y Pro. Also splitting two matches were the Imagine Swimming Makos, winning 8-5 over the so-called St. Makos squad — consisting of girls from the BHSF and Makos rosters — and losing 12-7 to Y Pro. The St. Makos dropped both of their matches, including a 10-7 decision to Y Pro.

With two squads entered, Y Pro of Sheepshead Bay finished the day with an overall record of 2-2 and — more importantly — saw their youngest U12 swimmers gain invaluable experience in tournament play.

Sponsored by the New York City Aquatics Partnership, a Brooklyn-based non-profit dedicated to promoting youth aquatics programs in New York City, the NY / NJ tournament has proven to be an ideal opportunity for novice and experienced players from the New York City metropolitan area to compete.

The tournament's next date is tentatively scheduled for March 11th in Princeton. Previously all teams, as well as Westfield Y, competed last month at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ.

Photo courtesy Carl Quigley, St. Francis Aquatics

Photo courtesy Carl Quigley, St. Francis Aquatics



Fordham University Versus Iona College: A Family Affair

Sports talk often centers on how teams are “like family”; in the case of the Judges of New Rochelle this old adage is actually true. With his arrival at Rose Hill in 1949 as a freshman, Francis Xavier Judge launched what is now a multi-generational rivalry between the men’s water polo programs at Fordham University in the Bronx and Iona College in New Rochelle.

Last month the annual Judge Cup match — named after Dr. Judge —saw Fordham down Iona by 10-3 and take a 3-2 lead in the annual grudge match between the two schools. Rooting on BOTH sides of the stands at Fordham's Col. Francis B. Messmore Pool were members of the Judge family who been intimately involved with Ram and Gael polo.

Read more about this fascinating rivalry between schools that stretches through three generations of one New York City's most prominent water polo families on the Collegiate Water Polo Association's website.

The men's water polo team at Fordham with the winning hardware from the 2016 Judge Cup

The men's water polo team at Fordham with the winning hardware from the 2016 Judge Cup

Interview with CWPA Hall of Famer Lynn Kachmarik

In this "Year of the Woman" — defined primarily by the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign — it seems only fitting that a woman water polo pioneer be heard from.

Now in in her fifth decade of involvement with the sport, Lynn Kachmarik has shattered numerous glass ceilings throughout her athletic career. She joined the Slippery Rock women’s water polo team in 1976 playing for legendary coach Dr. Richard “Doc” Hunkler. Kachmarik spent 10 years as a member of the national team including two as an assistant coach. In addition to her playing career, for 19 years she held multiple coaching positions at Bucknell University, highlighted by being named head coach of the Bucknell University men’s water polo team in 1986, replacing Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Hall of Fame member Dick Russell upon his retirement.

To read Michael Randazzo's interview with Ms. Kachmarik, please visit the Collegiate Water Polo Association's website.

Lynn Kachmarik coaching the men's water polo team at Bucknell University.

Lynn Kachmarik coaching the men's water polo team at Bucknell University.

The Fighting Flamingos: Ready To Play For 40 Years

The Fighting Flamingos—hailing from California to Florida, from New Hampshire to Washington, from Arizona to Maryland—make up a 55+ age group that in June captured its third-straight Women’s Masters National Championship last in Irvine, CA.

Recently USA Water Polo featured a story about this remarkable group of athletes who have weathered age, injury and the challenges of Title IX to forge a compelling narrative about perseverance as well as devotion to the sport.

Please read the full story at USA Water Polo's website.

Members of the 55+ Master's Womens Water Polo champion Fighting Flamingos

Members of the 55+ Master's Womens Water Polo champion Fighting Flamingos

Friday Water Polo Clinics Begin Oct 7 @ LIU Brooklyn

The New York City Aquatics Partnership (NYCAP) will begin the first of 10 water polo clinics at the LIU Brooklyn pool (161 Ashland Place).  Times are 4:30 - 6pm on the following dates:
October 7, 14, 21, 28
November 4, 11, 18
December 2, 9, 16

The goal is to have approximately 20 players of various levels developing water polo skills. Following is a synopsis of the basic program for the clinics:

A. Social

  1. Create a team atmosphere focused on success
  2. Create opportunities for long-term friendships
  3. Water polo is a team sport; if everyone works together it’s best for the team.

B.  Health and Development

  1. Focus on a healthy diet to provide a strong fitness base for water polo.
  2. Physical development, growth and muscle development
  3. Basic anatomy, stretching (what and why) and fitness on and off the deck
  4. Building confidence that will be beneficial in all aspects of life
  5. Respecting opponents and sportsmanship in general
  6. Effective conditioning techniques through land-based exercises.

C. Technical

  1. Basic water polo rules
  2. Understandings fouls and what different whistles mean
  3. Controlling emotions and adhering to referee's calls
  4. Following coach's instructions, understanding shots clock, etc.

D. Improving Skills

  1. Ball handling; how to hold/control the ball, including pumping, faking, etc.
  2. Protecting the ball from defenders
  3. Passing techniques, using both hands, dry, wet, whole set
  4. Defense basics, how to prevent counterattacks, etc.
  5. Proper defensive positioning as well as defending the whole set, etc.
  6. How to shoot as a whole set, using both hands
  7. How to shoot from the counterattack
  8. How to choose when, where and why to shoot
  9. Proper shooting techniques: high percentages shots, body, leg, shoulder positions, arm release point

E. Game Play

  1. Every position's duties and body position
  2. How to help teammates on defense
  3. How to properly defend when a man down
  4. How to properly utilize man-up situations
  5. How to earn kick-outs and have the advantage
  6. How to position in order not to get ejected
  7. How to get open and set up for a proper pass
  8. How to recognize counterattacks and to defend them
  9. How to recognize advantage in counterattacks and how to utilize them
  10. How to control the game

UCLA’s Wright Talks Growth and Polo in the East at Princeton Tourney

A recent visit to Princeton’s DeNunzio Pool by two-time defending national champion UCLA was memorable not only because it was the team’s first East Coast visit since the 2009 NCAA Men’s Water Polo Tournament; it was also an opportunity for New York-based water polo journalist Michael Randazzo to catch up with Bruins’ head coach Adam Wright, perhaps the most accomplished figure in U.S. water polo.

A two-time NCAA champion as a player (1999-2000) as well as three-time Olympian (2004, 2008 — when he was a member of Team USA’s silver medal winning squad —and 2008) Wright, now entering his eighth season in Westwood, has compiled a sparkling .865 winning percentage (192-30) while leading the Bruins to consecutive titles (2014, 2015) for the third time in program history.

With his team on a 38-match win streak — including 5-0 in New Jersey — Wright spoke about the pressures of being a high-profile program at the most successful college athletics program in America, the U.S. Men’s National Water Polo Team’s failure to advance to the knockout round in the Olympics for the first time since the 1964 Tokyo Games, and his friendship with U.S. women’s head coach Adam Krikorian, considered to be the best women’s coach in the world.

Read the entire interview on TotalWaterPolo.com

St. Francis Looks to Rebound From Disappointing Loss With 3 Home Matches

After making Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) history on Wednesday night at Princeton, NJ in the first ever Northeastern Water Polo Conference (NWPC) match — a tough 9-8 loss to the host Tigers — the St. Francis Brooklyn men’s water polo team (4-7; 0-1 NWPC) looks to bounce back in conference matches at home this weekend against rivals Brown, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

First up is M.I.T. (4-3; 0-0 NWPC) at 11am in the Generoso Pope Athletic Center pool. The Engineers seek a second straight win over their Brooklyn rivals following last year's 14-13 win in Cambridge — breaking a 22 year-long losing streak to the Terriers.

At 5pm, Harvard University (10-1; 0-0 NWPC) — #8 in the latest CWPA Men's Varsity Poll and the East's top-ranked squad — will be up next for St. Francis. The Crimson will look to extend a modest three-match winning streak over the Terriers, including a 13-8 victory in the 2015 CWPA playoffs.

On Sunday at 10am Brown University (8-5; 0-0 NWPC) will revisit one of the fiercest rivalries in Eastern water polo. In 2014 the Bears ended the Terriers’ run of nine-straight Northern Division titles on their way to their first appearance in the NCAA Men's Water Polo Tournament in 29 years.

Wednesday night’s contest was a back and forth affair which left the St. Francis faithful largely disappointed. The Terriers, who fell behind by two goals within the first 2 minutes of the match and trailed 7-4 midway through the third period, rallied to tie the Tigers at 8-all late in the fourth on a shot by Luka Budak. The 6-7 freshman’s goal capped an uphill struggle against Vojislav Mitrovic, Princeton’s superb junior netminder who registered a program high 20 saves, none bigger than a stop against St. Francis captain Ilija Djuretic on a penalty shot midway through the second period.

Given the chance to give his team the lead with less than three minutes remaining by virtue of a questionable 5-meter penalty agains the visitors, Tigers junior Jordan Colina didn’t miss, capping a four-goal game with a blast past Terrier freshman goalie Viktor Klauzer. The game’s final tally gave Princeton (8-5; 1-0 NWPC) the win in this first-ever regular season meeting between two of the East’s best programs.

Sophomores Nikita Prokhin and Botond Kadar led St. Francis with two goals each, while freshman Will Lampkin had a strong game, netting a goal while matched up against the speedy Colina.

Despite the loss, St. Francis has an excellent opportunity on Saturday to get back into the NWPC mix; a strong showing this weekend — especially against Harvard's experienced attackers Colin Chiapello, Joey Colton, and Noah Harrison — will do wonders for the confidence of a young Terrier lineup.

All matches take place in the St. Francis Brooklyn pool (180 Remsen Street — between Court and Clinton Streets in Brooklyn Heights). For more information contact the St. Francis Brooklyn Athletics Department.

St. Francis sophomore Nikita Prokhin in action last year against Harvard

St. Francis sophomore Nikita Prokhin in action last year against Harvard