SBWPC represented at ODP Championships

This past weekend, USA Water Polo (USAWP) held their 2012-2013 Pacific Coast Regional Olympic Development Program (ODP) Championships in San Diego. In the 8th Grade & Under Division, five young men from the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club (SBWPC) competed for the Coastal Zone; Miles Cole, Jake Ehrhardt, Adam Gross, Taylor Gustason & Spencer Wood.

Over the last few months top-players from around the country have tried-out for their respective Zone teams. Santa Barbara falls in to the highly-competitive and historically-dominant Coastal Zone. Head Coach of the team is Dave Merryman. Not only did the boys from SBWPC earn spots, they excelled. Spencer Wood’s Red Team placed 2nd. Miles Cole, Jake Ehrhardt & Taylor Gustason’s White Team placed 3rd and Adam Gross’ Blue Team placed 9th. An impressive showing considering the level of competition they faced.

Following the medal ceremony, representatives from the National Team coaching staff announced the names of players selected to participate in the US Olympic Team National Training & Selection Camp. Two SBWPC players were chosen: Miles Cole & Taylor Gustason. Considering only 13 players at the Regional Championships were chosen, this is quite an honor for the boys.

The mission of the USAWP ODP Program is to increase the number of athletes in the system with an emphasis on long-term improvement. The program serves as the entry into USAWP Olympic Development Pipeline and offers athletes the opportunity to compete at a higher level. Once accepted into the program, athletes are taught the American System of Water Polo.

The Olympic Development Program serves as the feeder system for USA Water Polo’s National Teams. The foundation of the program is a systematic approach to athlete and development through a training program that stresses the importance of being physically fit with a strong overall technical base that inter-connects with tactical component of the game.

SBWPC has one of the premiere club water polo coaching staffs in the country. Joe O’Brien (11 years the Head Coach of UCSB men’s team) coaches the 8th Grade & Under boys and is assisted by former UCSB player Ian Wood. Director of the Boy’s Program is Jon Abdou. Abdou is also part of the USAWP National Coaching Staff for the ODP Program and also assistant coach of the UCSB men’s team. The Girl’s Program is headed by Cathy Neushul, UCSB women’s head coach. The entire program of boys & girls is overseen by Wolf Wigo. Wigo, a recent inductee to the USAWP Hall of Fame, was a 3-time member of the US Olympic team and the men’s team head coach at UCSB.

A big thanks to Chip Ehrhardt for submitting this article!!

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