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La Jolla High water polo’s Amy Jennings is Union-Tribune’s Girls Coach of the Year

La Jolla High girls water polo coach Amy Jennings led her team to the Division II crown in the Southern California Regionals.
La Jolla High School girls water polo coach Amy Jennings led the Vikings to the Division II championship in the Southern California Regionals.
(Stephanie Montion Marquez)

Jennings led the Vikings to the Southern California Regional Division II crown.

The 2021-22 girls water polo season didn’t start out differently than any other for the La Jolla High School Vikings. They finished second in the Western League to perennial champion and La Jolla rival Bishop’s.

In the CIF San Diego Section Open Division playoffs, the No. 4-seeded Vikings were eliminated in the first round by No. 5 Carlsbad. But La Jolla’s season was good enough to get the team a berth in the Southern California Regional playoffs.

As the No. 5 seed in Division II, La Jolla defeated No. 4 Edison and No. 1 Yucaipa before thrashing No. 7 El Segundo, which had upset No. 3 Carlsbad in the semifinals, by a 16-7 score in the championship game in the La Jolla pool.

Vikings coach Amy Jennings has been named Girls Coach of the Year by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

“I’ve never been pushed into the pool to celebrate winning a championship,” said Jennings, who left volleyball and basketball behind as a junior at San Pasqual to get into girls water polo. “I’ve never won anything in the pool before. I’ve seen a lot of other coaches take a championship dip. You can’t dunk the coach in anything but the championship game. I’ll never forget the first time I went into the pool. Now I want to do it again so people won’t think the first time was a fluke.

“For a change, we were peaking at the right time, and I told them to forget everything that had happened this year because things happen for a reason.”

The 17-player team’s only losses in a 25-5 season were twice to Bishop’s, which won the San Diego Section Open Division crown, and once to Coronado, Yucaipa and Carlsbad.

La Jolla won its last five games and eight of the final 10 en route to the SoCal championship.

“I’ve never won anything in the pool before. ... Now I want to do it again so people won’t think the first time was a fluke.”

— Amy Jennings

Jennings began her coaching career while a freshman at Palomar College, when she took over the freshman team at Vista High. She coached there seven years before a 10-year stint at Westview. She coached at Miramar College from 2007 to 2019 and began coaching at La Jolla in 2016.

Jennings likes to point out that she has been a part of every San Diego Section playoffs — either as a player or coach — since the sport started in the county in 1998.

In her six seasons at La Jolla, Jennings has a 97-42 overall record. As good as this season was, Jennings’ best year with the Vikings was her first in 2016-17, when they went 26-4 overall. ◆