La Jolla water polo club scores gold, prepares for Junior Olympics

By Joe Smith

La Jolla Water Polo

The La Jolla Water Polo Club sent four teams to the Cal State Tournament July 20-22 and returned with three championship banners and a third place finish.

The 18U Women (coached by Tom Martinez), 16U Boys (coached by Sam Busby), and 14U Girls (coached by Keller Felt and Kristen Ostosh) all swam to the top of their respective divisions. The Boys 14U team (coached by Valeri Ivanov) took a bronze medal for their division. The Cal State Tournament hosted dozens of water polo clubs who traveled from as far away as Stockton-Modesto to participate in the annual San Diego tournament.

All four La Jolla Water Polo Club teams have qualified to compete in the 2012 Junior Olympic National Championships which were held in San Jose last week (for men’s/boys’ divisions) and Aug. 2-5 (for the women’s/girls’ divisions). Each team competes over the four-day championship series (playing on average three games per day) against some of the most talented water polo clubs from across the country. LJWPC players anticipate the chance each summer to experience the charged atmosphere of JO’s, and they eagerly train for months to condition themselves and to learn to play as a team.

Many of the older players on the La Jolla teams will cap their JO experiences with a week-long trip to Hawaii where they will be competing in the 44th annual Hawaiian Water Polo Tournament, Aug. 6-12, in Honolulu.