The world sent its water polo talent to Coronado last week.
“We have the Bahamas Junior National Team here,” said Randy Burgess, head coach of Coronado Water Polo. “We have a Serbian, Jamaicans, Hungarians, Canadians, players from all over the East Coast and from throughout the West Coast.”
Burgess was referring to the “Polo in Paradise” Camp, which concluded Sunday after a week at the Brian Bent Memorial Aquatic Complex on the Coronado High School campus.
But the camp didn't just benefit those who were directly involved.
“Not only was this a great week for the kids and coaches, but we estimate that camp participants brought in more than $30,000 to the Coronado and San Diego economy while they were here,” said Coronado Water Polo President Jim Walsh. “That is a win-win for everyone.”
In addition to Burgess, coaching staff included Mike Schofield, Head Coach U.S. Naval Academy, Ferenic Vindisch of Hungary who now coaches in Canada, Kemo Mattocks of Jamaica Water Polo, Duff Harold, a former USA National Team player as well as Coronado coaching staff Laszlo Gyori, Preston Lujan, Matt Finley, Kelly Phelps and Tony Hall.
Athletes underwent extensive physical training, classroom instruction in water polo tactics, strategy and theory, stength training, attended a seminar in college entrance strategies and played in a weekend-long tournament.
“All together we had 197 young athletes and some of our nation's most outstanding coaches come together in the one of the country's finest water polo instructional camps,” said Burgess, as he coached the Coronado 18-under team from the pool deck.
“This was a very intense week for these young scholar-athletes,” said Burgess. “They all did a great job of pushing themselves to set goals, work as teammates and learn how to acheive excellence. Plus they all thoroughly enjoyed lots of great ocean time at Coronado's beautiful beaches.”
Coronado Water Polo is one of the nation's most recognized water polo programs, with a storied history of players excelling in the Olympics, on USA National Teams and on some of the country's finest college squads. Last year Coronado High's team won the CIF Division II championship in San Diego County.
Later this week, Coronado players will participate in the California State Games and High School Championships in San Diego and Orange Counties.
"It was cool to meet so many players from around the world," said Andrew Dudley, a freshman at Coronado High. "It was a fun week."