SBCC officially adds women’s water polo

Chuckie Roth - Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College’s swimming coach Chuckie Roth will also lead the water polo program. (Presidio Sports Photo)

Ten months after women’s swimming joined the intercollegiate sports lineup at Santa Barbara City College, Athletic Director Ryan Byrne has announced that women’s water polo will be added in the Fall of 2014.

“I am so excited about the addition of women’s water polo,” said Byrne. “Last Spring when we held an Aquatics organizational meeting for the local community, we had 35 students indicate they would be interested in swimming or playing water polo, which was outstanding.

“The local aquatics programs are very strong, we have a tremendous coach available and there are a lot of students that want to compete at SBCC. Having nearly 20 student-athletes on the women’s swim team this spring is proof of the interest and I’m confident we will have a very strong program.

“Adding women’s water polo takes our program one step closer to becoming the best community college athletics transfer program in the state and will create a lot of opportunities for young women to reach their potential.”

Women’s swimming coach Chuckie Roth will also coach water polo. Swimming had its first meet on Feb. 15 in the WSC Pentathlon and the Vaqueros had more swimmers than any other school. Rachelle Visser finished second out of 63 competitors.

“It really makes sense to add water polo to our aquatics program,” said Roth. “The water polo team will complement our swim team. It provides an opportunity to train our kids in the off-season.

“Not all swimmers play water polo but a good majority will. And you have many water polo players who will swim. Having a water polo team will help with numbers, it will help with recruiting and it will help with any athlete who plays both sports in high school. It will provide full opportunities on a year-round basis.”

Water polo is the 10th women’s intercollegiate sport at SBCC and brings the Vaqueros’ overall total to 18 teams.

“I think water polo at SBCC is long overdue in this community,” Roth added. “With the addition of swimming, we’re seeing a lot of recruits coming from out of the area. When you add a strong pool of local kids, I think we’re going to be alright.

“You need seven players at a time (in water polo) and a roster of 15 to 20. I don’t see us having any problem fielding a team.”

The water polo team will practice and play home games at San Marcos High, where Roth is also the girls’ water polo and swimming coach.

“We could be very competitive in our first year,” said Roth. “I’ve already identified five girls who will play for us and they’ll do very well.”

SBCC water polo will join six teams in the Western State Conference – Ventura, L.A. Pierce, L.A. Valley, Santa Monica, Citrus and Cuesta.

“The No. 1 thing to building a program is supporting kids in their academic endeavors,” Roth added. “If you go in understanding that, I think you can be successful. If you go in trying to win a state championship, that’s hard to do. That could come in time but it’s all about the academics first and providing opportunities for these kids.

“We have to support them athletically, socially and academically. If you get that combination, it can breed success.”