Making a Splash

The Torrey Pines High School (TPHS) and Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) boys water polo teams have made a big splash this fall season, with the girls teams already gearing up for the action of the winter season. Under the guidance of their dedicated and talented coaching staff, each team is looking ahead in hope of making it to the CIF Championship. Join us as we speak with CCA Head Coaches Tyler Ormsby and Karen Henry, and TPHS Head Coaches Tim Reed and Alex Williams about how they each motivate their players to give it their all, grow as a team, and enjoy every moment in the water.

Q&A with Tim Reed,
TPHS Boys Water Polo Coach

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What is the history behind your career as an athlete and coach?
I started coaching in 1987 at Hilltop High School as an assistant coach, then went to Crawford High School as head coach. After a couple of seasons I went to Bonita Vista High School for nine seasons. Grossmont High School was next, then off to Washington State with Mercer Island High School. I also coached with the USA Mens Junior National Team for five years.

This is my third season with TPHS. Leading up to this job I had been a head coach for four different high schools as well as currently being the head coach for 18 seasons for the San Diego Shores Water Polo Club mens team.

How did the boys and girls water polo teams perform last year?
Last year was very exciting for the boys and girls teams. The boys won the league title with an end of season win over Westview High School. The girls program was seeded number one in Division I for CIF. Both teams are continuing to grow and improve with incredible commitment from athletes and families.

When do the seasons begin for both the boys and girls teams?
The boys season began in late August, with girls beginning late November.

What do you expect from the boys team this year?
The boys are one of the top teams in the county this year with early wins over Carlsbad and Vista. TPHS is in the top five this season. Daily training with weight belts, a solid commitment to fundamentals, and a great team work ethic make training exciting.

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Where does the team train?
We train at UCSD Monday through Friday and on some Saturdays. UCSD is very generous for allowing TPHS to use the facility for games and training.

What is the most rewarding aspect about coaching? The most challenging?
The most rewarding is when the athletes come back after graduation to see how the program is doing and stay connected. The challenge is balancing training and academics for all the athletes, with such demanding school schedules and social commitments.

What is your coaching philosophy and how do you instill that in the teams?
Hardwork, fundamentals, and teamwork define what I work to have in every team I coach. The first two just come out of repetition and attention to detail. The third can be more difficult
depending on the season. This season has been very easy with our current group of seniors who set a great example.

Tell us about the support you receive from parents, volunteers, and the community.
Without the parents, volunteers, and community we would not have a program. Parents and athletes fundraise as well as donate to support pool time, equipment, and tournaments. UCSD allows us to use their facility as well as University City High School, otherwise we would not have a place to train.

How can parents or community members contribute to the program?
Any and all contributions are needed and appreciated. Businesses and community members can contact TPHS to contribute.

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If you could grant the teams one wish, what would it be?
Build a facility on campus in order for athletes to train.

Tell us about the coaching staff and the type of experience and skills that they bring to the table.
Our staff is a bit of a work in progress. With our pool time it is difficult to find and keep coaches. Currently we have Ariel Baugh in her second year and she is doing a great job developing our novice and JV teams. Alex Williams is our volunteer coach in his third season. Alex is a Torrey Pines alumnus and he brings amazing Torrey Pride to the program as well as a solid work ethic.

What do the team members do during the off season?
Many of our athletes train and compete with local year-round clubs, including San Diego Shores, Pacific, Carlsbad, and Del Mar, which helps greatly for our season.

How do you stress the importance of academics to the student athletes?
Academics at TPHS are really important. We recognize high GPAs whenever possible.


 

Q&A with Alex Williams,
TPHS girls Water Polo Coach

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What is the history behind your career as an athlete and coach?
I played three years of varsity water polo at TPHS from fall 2003 to fall 2005, serving as captain my senior season. We advanced to two CIF Division I finals in 2004 and 2005. I also played four years at the University of Arizona, serving as captain my junior and senior season, graduating in 2011. I head coached the University of Arizona women’s club team in 2011. I have been an assistant/JV coach at TPHS since fall 2013.

How long have you held your current coaching position?
This is my third year overall with the TPHS girls program and my first as head coach. I love water polo and I love the lessons that come from participating in competitive athletics. I have a passion for helping students realize their potential and achieve success in and out of their sport.

What do you expect from the girls teams for this year?
My individual expectation is that each athlete makes a commitment to herself, her teammates, her school, and her opponents to always give her best effort and to not set limitations on what she can achieve. Our goal is to win our league and CIFs. Specific training methods include dry-land activities, swimming, and fundamental water polo drills designed to help athletes make the most efficient choices in a match to win.

What is your coaching philosophy and how do you instill that in the teams?
My coaching philosophy is that we will always honor the process to becoming a champion by sacrificing the easier wrong for the more difficult right, embracing competition, acknowledging both our strengths and weaknesses, understanding that we create our own legacy, and building confidence through our daily habits of hard work and preparation.

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Tell us about the support you receive from parents, volunteers, and the community.
We have phenomenal support from our parents, volunteers, school, and community. Our parents and volunteers make my job extremely easy by taking on the bulk of day-to-day management of our program. This allows me to focus my time on helping our athletes succeed. Our Athletic Director Charlenne Falcis-Stevens has guided me through all the ins-and-outs of being a first-year head coach and has put me in the best possible position to succeed.

If you could grant the teams one wish, what would it be?
My one wish is that our athletes will gain a passion for competition and pass along the lessons learned to others.

Are there any local talents who have gone on to play on a collegiate or professional level?
Our program has had several athletes who have gone on to play college water polo. Recently this includes Anique Hermann (SDSU), Julia Hermann (Stanford University), and Michelle Martinelli (Harvard University).

What recognition has the team garnered over the years?
Our program has advanced to several CIF semi-finals and finals over the past 10 years.
If you could describe the teams in five words or less, what would you say?
Embrace challenges and always improve.

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At-A-Glance | TPHS Boys and Girls Water Polo Teams

Boys Coach: Tim Reed
Girls Coach: Alex Williams
Phone: 858-888-2838
Email: torreypolo@gmail.com
Boys Water Polo Website: www.tphswaterpolo.weebly.com
Girls Water Polo Website: www.torreypinesfalcons.shutterfly.com


Q&A with Tyler Ormsby,
CCA Boys Water Polo Coach

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What is the history behind your career as an athlete and coach?
My roots as an athlete and coach go back to my family and how I was raised. I was fortunate that my brother was an incredible water polo player. When I was in eighth grade I watched him win an NCAA championship and play in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. By the time I entered high school I had seen hundreds of high-level water polo games and that just sealed the fact that water polo was the sport I wanted to pursue.

I am in my second year of coaching at CCA. I’ve always enjoyed the managerial aspect of building a successful team. Getting everything to click is really interesting, but the part I truly enjoy is the practices and games where I can directly impact the play of the team.

When do the seasons begin for both the boys and girls teams?
The boys began on Aug. 10 and the girls begin in mid-November.

What type of training or preparation will the teams go through?
The boys are working really hard. It’s just a matter of getting them to grind consistently throughout the season.

Where does the team train?
Cathedral Catholic High School. With their teams plus club sports we practice from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. We make the best out of it.

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What is the most rewarding aspect about coaching? The most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect by far is seeing a kid do something that he previously thought he couldn’t do. I like to stress the importance of believing in yourself. Have the confidence to try something new. That’s when playing was most exciting for me – when I had a head full of confidence. As a coach I want to pass along that confidence that I had as a player to the kids who I coach. I strive to empower players who think they are powerless. There are a lot of challenges to coaching. I can’t really pinpoint one that is most difficult.

What is your coaching philosophy and how do you instill it in the team?
As a coach I actively seek out how I can improve, and that is what I want my team to do. It’s a waste of time to practice and not make the most of the opportunity to develop. That’s why I tell them that we can do something special this season. Fortunately the players have already seen improvement this season, and if we keep it going, we will reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you could grant the team one wish, what would it be?
Winning is the obvious answer. To have 3:15 p.m. practices would probably be a close second.
Tell us about the coaching staff and the type of experience and skills that they bring to the table.
Our JV and freshman coach is Eric Silcock from El Toro High School and UCSD. He is a great addition.

What do the team members do during the off season?
Train with a quality club team. If you want to be a great water polo player you pretty much have to train year-round.

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Are there any local talents who have gone to play on a collegiate or professional level?
Our captain from last year, Roland Yu, is playing at George Washington University. I see great things coming from him in the future and I look forward to staying in contact with him.

How do you stress the importance of academics to the student athletes?
I simply stress the importance of learning. If a kid wants to learn and he has a good teacher then that’s a recipe for success in my mind.

If you could describe the teams in five words or less, what would you say?
Sometimes goofballin’, but always showstoppin’.


Q&A with Karen Henry,
CCA GIRLS Water Polo Coach

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What is the history behind your career as an athlete and coach?
I played water polo for roughly 10 years both in Orange County and at UCSD. I’ve been coaching for a total of six years for high school teams and for club teams as an assistant. This will be my first year as a head coach and I am looking forward to the experience. I truly have a passion for the sport and although I don’t have the schedule to play anymore, I couldn’t help but find myself at the pool again.

How did the girls water polo team perform last year?
It was a rebuilding year. Last year I was the assistant coach of the team and my coaching partner and I were brought on mid-season. It made it a little bit more difficult but we certainly saw much improvement. I can only imagine what we will see when there will be a full season for learning.

What do you expect from the girls team this year?
I’m looking forward to training with the girls. We have a good set of returners and I’m excited for the freshman class to see the talent I can mold and work with. I hope to incorporate a lot of things I learned during my experience as a player, mixing conditioning with team bonding to make the time more fun. We will have lots of pool time and definitely take advantage of the beautiful beaches just down the street!

Where does the team train?
The team trains at Cathedral Catholic High School just down the street from CCA.

What is the most rewarding aspect about coaching? The most challenging?
The most challenging would be continuing to challenge the players and myself. I find it quite an exciting challenge actually. Constantly making drills and keeping it interesting is something I hope to bring to the pool deck. The most rewarding would definitely be seeing changes in the players’ abilities. Seeing something finally click within the entire team or just an individual player is very encouraging.

What is your coaching philosophy and how do you instill it in the team?
My coaching philosophy is to do my best to create a positive environment. I don’t like yelling. I enjoy teaching moments and I think athletes learn better in a positive setting. If I can incorporate a life lesson within a technique lesson then I’m very happy. I’m trying to create a group of young women who will make an impact in their community athletically, academically, and socially. I think that athletics can be an amazing way to prepare someone for the real world post-high school, its not all about being the best in the pool.

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Tell us about the support you receive from parents, volunteers, and the community.
We have amazing parents. I couldn’t do it without them, especially with this being my first year as head coach. This community feeds off of sports, and being in Southern California naturally makes it an environment where water polo players can thrive. I am thankful for the acceptance I receive from the community and athletic board at CCA.

How can parents or community members contribute to the program?
Sign your daughter up! We’re always looking for fresh faces. If that is not an option, get a hold of our Athletic Directors at CCA for donation and fundraising opportunities. There will be several opportunities at local businesses to fundraise for the squad. Girls water polo and other sports at CCA are in constant need of updated equipment – aquatics especially because we have to outsource for pool space.

Also, we always need fans at our games! Schedules can be found on the website closer to the start of the season.

If you could grant the team one wish, what would it be?
I think I would grant the wish of having our own pool. I know it is a goal for the future, which would make a more convenient practice schedule. But for now we are working at a beautiful facility and we are very fortunate it is so close to the school.

How do you stress the importance of academics to the student athletes?
It’s the number one priority. In addition to the required minimum GPA to be eligible, I ask them to bring school work along on travel games to encourage them to spend any free time staying on top of their school business.

If you could describe the teams in five words or less, what would you say?
Young, determined, dedicated, excited, and cheerful.


At-A-Glance | CCA Boys and Girls Water Polo Teams 

Boys Coach: Tyler Ormsby
Girls Coach: Karen Henry
Email: tylerormsby@hotmail.com
Phone: 858-350-0253
Website: cc.sduhsd.net/programs/athletics/

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