For almost an hour Sept. 15, the La Jolla High School (LJHS) Varsity Water Polo team received a water survival lesson similar to those that Navy officers must master as part of their training.
“Basically, you’re teaching Marines how to survive in the water in adverse conditions, so if you fall out of a ship, you know how to inflate your trousers or your blouse, and how to use the least amount of energy in an environment such as the ocean,” explained Navy Corps Captain Grant Cooper, a 2005 LJHS graduate and former player on their Water Polo team.
Prior to the Thursday, afternoon session, the students had to put gear on consisting of a Marine Corps uniform (blouse and trousers) and heavy boots. Cooper said, “It adds a little bit of adversity when you put on boots, it takes away your ability to swim and makes it harder. Also, we’re going to see a lot more drag going on in the water.”
After his graduation from LJHS, Cooper said he played goalie for the Pomona-Pitzer college Water Polo team, joined the Navy where he deployed to Afghanistan, and then became an executive officer at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.