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We’re entering the busiest time of 2020. Some important updates.
Olympic Development Program
AquaTex successfully hosted the very well attended USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program Southwest Zone clinic on Saturday and Sunday. There were more girls on Saturday than have ever attended a Central Texas ODP camp or clinic, and we capped the number of boys to 50 but could’ve easily surpassed 60 on Sunday. It was a great opportunity for our athletes who attended. We covered a LOT of territory in just 4+ hours.
This was only the second ODP camp/clinic held in the entire country this season. Now if only we had a 50-meter pool… Kidding (#gratitude).
Thanks for all our great volunteer parents from AquaTex, Longhorn, and all over Texas. You helped make it as crisp a clinic or camp I’ve ever led as ODP coach.
Central Texas Festival
The Central Texas Festival, the first USA Water Polo-sanctioned tournament in the US since the pandemic started, begins on Saturday, October 3 at Milburn Pool in Cedar Park. We will be hosting games at Micki on Sunday the 4th, Saturday the 10th, Sunday the 11th. More below, but first the competition part.
Here are the rosters as currently submitted to USA Water Polo. We have until Wednesday to make changes, which are very likely, so be sure to contact me if there are conflicts.
|12U Mixed||18U Boys||18U Girls||14u Mixed|
|Cruz Crowley||Greysen Gaderson||Gwen Sloat||Kelly Murphy|
|Landon Vickery||Axel Haydt||Cate Sloat||Luca de Araujo|
|Nick Musil||Evan Sayer||Valeria Ortiz||Riley Dixon|
|Tristan Chamas||Tomas Chu||Kateryna Ortiz||Joey Bradford|
|Jake Roberts||Cole Kershner||Samantha Smith||Matthew Blood|
|Daniel Armendariz||Caleb Moody||Cammie Shaulfelberger||Aaron Gordon|
|Maddox Conte||Owen Murphy||Morgan Spooner||Declan Graves|
|Pierce Green||John ‘Jack’ Waters||Kendall Strauss||Cruz Crowley|
|Laird Green||Michael Morrison||Nilmary Padilla||Austin Kenton|
|Silas Chamas||Alexander Thulin||James Strauss|
|Luca de Araujo||Jacob Gerakos|
|Aaron Gordon||Ava Chamas|
Athletes will pay $60 per team they play on. Each team gets four games.
The schedule may be published as soon as Monday. Saturday the 3rd features 14u and 12u teams. Each AquaTex team will get two games on Saturday ending at 1:30 PM or earlier. On Sunday the 12u athletes stay at Milburn while 14u plays at Micki.
The schedule is more fluid on the 10th and 11th but we are asking USAWP to put as many of our games at Micki as possible.
I’m so excited to get us back competing!
It’s a quite busy two weekends for us as local tournament hosts. USA Water Polo will handle a lot of the things we usually do. But we still need help with several things at Micki (Zilla is providing volunteers for all games at Milburn):
- Three desk workers doing game sheets, clocks, and flags at all games at Micki
- Two Covid-19 monitors making sure our limited spectators follow the tournament’s physical distancing guidelines
- Help setting up the course on Saturday the 3rd and Friday the 9th
- Help breaking down the course and cleaning up on each Sunday evening
- Sell concessions if we choose
There will be no entry fee but we will ask for donations, mainly digitally. USA Water Polo handles hospitality. AquaTex will have water and beverages for referees, coaches, volunteers.
We’re asking all our Longhorn friend families to pitch in too. You can contact me directly or Coach Tom for more information.
Covid, Covid, Covid
Take a moment to be sure your family has signed USA Water Polo’s mandatory Covid-19 waiver. You should see a popup on your browser when you log in to usawaterpolo.org under your athlete’s profile. Athletes will not be allowed to practice or play until the waiver is signed so log in today. And take a moment to update your athlete’s photo too.
Here are instructions as were shared by USAWP in May (click to expand).
I’m going to send the Jolyn fitting kit back to the manufacturer this week. If you want to try on a suit before I do let me know at practice.
See you on the deck,
Central Texas Festival
It’s on! USA Water Polo, along with local hosts AquaTex and Zilla, will put on the first full-contact sanctioned water polo tournament in Texas since the lockdown.
Here are some details about the Central Texas Festival from USAWP:
The USA Water Polo – Central Texas Festival will be played over two weekends in early October in North Austin. The 14U & 12U Mixed Divisions will play on October 3-4 in Cedar Park at the Elizabeth Millburn Park Pool in Cedar Park, TX. The 18U/16U Girls & Boys Divisions will play on October 10-11 at the Mikki Krebsbach Swimming Pool in Round Rock, TX.
Spreading the tournament out over two weekends allows for us to maximize team entries and have the most flexibility with planning the event. This event will be a USA Water Polo run tournament, and [Joe Linehan] will supervise/oversee the tournament with local club hosts Aquatex and Zilla…
The four divisions for the Central Texas Festival will be:
- 18U/16U Girls (a single division, possibly “A” and “B” brackets)
- 18U/16U Boys (a single division, possibly “A” and “B” brackets)
- 14U Mixed
- 12U Mixed
The Age as of Date for all divisions will be August 1, 2020. All teams will receive a minimum of four games in a “festival” style format over the two day tournament. The hope is for all clubs throughout the Southwest Zone that want to participate will be able to participate in the event. “B” Teams will be permitted to play in the tournament if space is available.
AquaTex Team Entries
AquaTex has already entered and paid for a 14u mixed team to play in the tournament. We will also add at least one 18u team which would include many of our 14u athletes in addition to our high schoolers (AquaTex and Longhorn). The 14u athletes will get eight games total. I’ll be discussing with Coaches Tom and Allie from Longhorn if there are enough athletes to field a girls’ 18u team, or maybe more. #Excited
Unwritten in the note above is that there is some chance that we will host some games at Micki on Sunday, October 4 in addition to definitely hosting the weekend of October 10-11. We’re going to need our best ever turnout for volunteers: desk workers, covid monitors, entry gate personnel, concessions (if we choose). We already know there are two teams from California who have asked to register so it will be a very popular weekend of competition. We’re very pleased to have our friends from Longhorn training with us and playing on AquaTex teams, so we are grateful for Longhorn and AquaTex families pitching in.
It was simply amazing to be back in the pool playing actual water polo last Saturday at Milburn Pool with Zilla. Our 14u athletes showed genuine progress with all the work we’ve been doing, as did our high school team, which faced some very talented Zilla players. Those scrimmages will take place every other Saturday at Milburn so we will plan on copying the routine we used last Saturday: practice, break, scrimmage. Thanks to everyone who came and to Kristin Gordon for the photo!
These scrimmages are not mandatory but I can’t stress how important it is for our athletes to actually execute the things they learn in practice during competition. This is a chance to do so at no cost. These should not be considered optional unless there is good reason to miss it. And as I mentioned to everyone on Saturday, the scrimmage is not a replacement for practice. If an athlete has not been to enough practices he or she will not be allowed to play. #beyourbest
Our youth and masters players get a month worth of Saturdays off. All waterpolo is cancelled for Sept 19 (AQTX Swim Meet), Sept 26 (USA Water Polo ODP), Oct 3 (HS swim meet), and Oct. 10 (Central Texas Festival at Micki).
Weekly Online Learning
Athletes should keep an eye open for the link to our Thursday night Zoom chalk talks. These are required of all our athletes since we do not have classroom facilities at Micki where we could do it in person.
The fitting suits are here. You can try them on for the next week or so at practice.
Olympic Development Program at Micki
Registration is open for the girls’ Olympic Development Program clinic at Micki on September 26. The boys’ sold out in less than 72 hours so we’re looking for the same from our local female athletes.
A reminder that Coach Hayley is back to lead our Scorpions Ball program which will start the fall on Thursday, September 24 from 6.30 PM to 7.30 PM. The program is for athletes age 5-11, designed to provide basic skills and understanding of the sport of water polo in a fun, dynamic, safe, and easy to learn aquatic experience. It costs $5/session and $10 annual USA Water Polo fee. The registration process is new and simpler (and mandatory). Click here for the link.
I founded the brand Total Waterpolo in 2008 and have finally put a podcast out there to expand its coverage. The first edition includes my conversation with Preslav Djippov, who is the new head coach at Westcliff University in Irvine which is fielding a varsity team for the first time ever. And my colleague Michael Randazzo speaks with the father-daughter combination of Nathan and Nioka Thomas, he a two-time Olympian, and she an incoming freshman at UC Irvine. Subscribe on many of the most popular platforms and tell a friend.
See you on the deck,
Slowly we’re returning to some sort of normal. Not quite, but there are some encouraging signs. Masters are back in the pool, Scorpion Ball is returning, our numbers are growing, and we might be hosting… an actual tournament!
USA Water Polo wants to co-host a tournament at Micki, tentatively set for October 10-11 (Oct. 3rd and 4th, which we floated last week, won’t work for scheduling reasons). The Central Texas tournament would be split so younger athletes would play at Milburn in Cedar Park and older ones at Micki. It’s exciting news for us since it would be the first full-contact tournament in Texas since prior to the lockdown.
USA Water Polo will be managing the tournament but AquaTex will be required to have volunteers run the tables and oversee hospitality. We also have the opportunity to sell concessions and gear.
We’re very happy to have Aaron back with AquaTex after a long hiatus. Welcome back! And our partnership with Longhorn has been so good for the club as we have several of their athletes training with us while UT is closed. We love having them with us: Greyson, Kelly, Owen, and the recent influx of 12u athletes, Cruz, Flora, Chase, Nick, and Landon. #AquaHorns
We’ve had some questions about practice attendance, so that information is now available to our families via this Google sheet. #BeYourBest
Scorpions Ball (formerly Splashball) Returns
Coach Hayley Krebsbach is back to lead our Scorpions Ball program which will start the fall on Thursday, September 24 from 6.30 PM to 7.30 PM. The program is for athletes age 5-11, designed to provide basic skills and understanding of the sport of water polo in a fun, dynamic, safe, and easy to learn aquatic experience. It costs $5/session and $10 annual USA Water Polo fee. The registration process is new and simpler (and mandatory). Click here for the link.
Weekly Online Learning
We’ll return to Zoom in order to go over game film and other technical and tactical aspects of the game that we don’t get to cover during pool time training. It’ll be scheduled for every Thursday at 7:30 PM. Look for a Zoom invite via our GroupMe and/or email.
We’ll be receiving a Jolyn fit kit for their new water polo suits. We can do fittings beginning as early as practice on Sept. 16. The kit will be available at practice for at least a week.
We’ve had really good turnout for our Saturday masters’ shoot-arounds, which have included massive “ultimate” rules battles. Thanks to everyone for coming. There are several cancellations due to schedule conflicts on the calendar so check it out before you arrive at Micki.
Olympic Development Program at Micki
Registration is open for the first clinics of the season for USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development Program. They will be held at Micki on September 26 and 27. Girls will attend on Saturday afternoon and boys on Sunday morning. Coach James is in his fifth season as Head Coach of the program along side some of the best coaches in Texas.
RYTE Sport Store
RYTE has told me that their ordering process has changed for certain items, mainly those that require embroidery. So we will now be keeping the RYTE store open for limited times at the beginning of each season/session. It will be open for the remainder of September and will then re-open in November as the winter season arrives.
See you on the deck,
Apparently there is enough pent up demand by masters athletes for anything that resembles water polo to fill up Micki Krebsbach on a sweltering day.
Our masters program returned on Saturday with plenty of grateful athletes, copious sunscreen, and proper physical distancing. As with our youth program there’s no physical contact (yet), so plenty of “ultimate” style water polo with ever-shifting rules.
But masters water polo is back on the calendar for Saturdays from 2pm to 3.30 pm. There are exceptions so be sure to check the calendar.
Find out more about our masters programming here.
The new aquatexwaterpolo.com is now public (as you can see…). It allows us to share more content, improve our communications and marketing, and give more direct and colorful access to our online vendors. It is not a replacement for the club’s Team Unify site but an enhancement. All billing and some communication will still be done via the other site.
Good news for our masters friends. We will open the pool on Saturdays after our youth practice to a masters shoot-around. This will begin this Saturday, August 29. We will follow the same rules as we do for our youth practices including but not limited to:
- Don’t come if you’re ill, running a temperature.
- Two meters physical distancing in and out of the pool: no physical contact = no scrimmaging (our youth athletes play a version of “ultimate” that prohibits physical contact and maintains 2 meters of distance).
- No dryland exercises or warmup. We get in the pool as soon as we arrive.
- Athletes arrive and leave wearing swimwear.
- Athletes arrive and leave wearing face masks.
- Coaches are encouraged to wear masks unless sufficiently distant from athletes in the pool.
- The locker rooms are closed except for toilets, which should be used only if absolutely necessary.
- No spectators.
We are beginning to engage with Jolyn about making custom suits for our female athletes.
We are requesting a fitting kit and will likely bring it to practice the week of September 7.
Olympic Development Program at Micki
The USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program will hold it’s first Southwest Zone camp of the 2020-21 season at Micki Krebsbach on September 26 and 27. Girls will attend on Saturday afternoon and boys on Sunday morning. Many more details to come but we want as many of our athletes to attend as possible. Coach James is in his fifth season as Head Coach of the program along side some of the best coaches in Texas.
Our friends at Thunder Water Polo in Dallas are scrimmaging and have asked if we’d be interested in sending a team up there for a weekend competition in the next several weeks. Let Coach James know if you are interested.
After having shut down production so they could make face masks, RYTE Sports is back in business and our store is open. Custom suits and other gear are still in there.
See you on the deck,
School is (kinda) back in session which means our fall schedule is now on the calendar.
Coaches Shannon and Kendall are returning to Austin College this week, which means their summer season of coaching is over. Wish them all the best as they return to school under some pretty different circumstances, and let’s hope they can play in the spring after having the last season cut very short. And, my personal huge thanks to both of them for leading the club so well while I was away. We’ll see them again in November!
This week we will practice from 7-9 PM Tuesday and Thursday, and from noon to 2pm on Saturday. No Friday practice.
Beginning on August 24 we will practice from 7-9 PM Monday and Wednesday, and from noon to 2pm on Saturday. You can find the entire schedule on the team’s calendar.
Plus, we’ll continue to look for days we can host extra practices, hopefully moving toward four practices regularly a week.
The schedule for splashball this fall is still pending, but likely will take place on select Saturdays at noon. Stay tuned.
Given the new schedule we will figure out the best time to host online learning sessions during the week.
Belated happy birthday to Mac who turned 18 (!) on July 31. And to Riley, who will be 15 as of Sunday, August 23. I feel like there should be extra cookies for those guys (Austin? Luca? Declan?).
See you on the deck, masked.
We’ve had two successful weeks of practice since our return, and our numbers are on the rise too. Plus, Splashball is back on the calendar and a brief update on Junior Olympics.
We are now set with our summer weekly schedule, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We have changed from Monday/Wednesday/Thursday in order to maximize the amount of time we can train in deep water.
Danny Dixon has contacted families involved in our 14u boys team that we plan to send to 2020 National Junior Olympics in November (more info from USAWP here). Given the circumstances there are some travel prices we can take advantage of. If you don’t have Danny’s contact info just ask Coach James for it.
There is still no word about when Junior Olympics qualifying will be (Southwest Zone Championships).
And finally, we’ll be inviting the non-AQTX 14u boys for practice soon.
It’s back! Beginning on Wednesday, June 17 we’ll begin monthly splashball from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The program is for any athlete age 5-11. We had a successful session just prior to the lockdown so we’re really looking forward to the next. Share the news with friends.
We’re very excited to have Devin, Cammie and Asher joining us for the first time. And welcome back to Brandon. It’s an exciting time for AQTX Waterpolo and we’re grateful for their families’ participation.
Belated happy birthday to Cameron and Kendall, our May birthdays. We’ll celebrate Nilmary’s in just a couple weeks, our only June celebration (unless we get new athletes!).
And check out the photos of some of our recent practices, including our new brand of scrimmaging with ultimate rules.
See you on the deck,
It has been such a pleasure to be back at the pool with our athletes and to see some of our parents as well. Water polo in the entire country is changed. And we are probably the first club in the US to get back in the pool, for which I’m extremely grateful.
So, some updates regarding how we’ll be going forward given the covid circumstances, and the change in schedule we experience every summer as Micki is opened to the public.
Plus, this update is for many people from throughout the country who have asked asked for information related to getting back to practice.
For the week beginning May 25 waterpolo training will take place from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We have changed from Monday/Wednesday/Thursday in order to maximize the amount of time we can train in deep water.
That schedule is likely but not certain to continue the first week of June. Another update forthcoming.
We have had several coaches, athletes, and parents contact us about training with AquaTex while their own local clubs are shut down. I should have a better answer about if and how we can help in the next week. Given the new distance restrictions we will have to see about numbers. Thanks for getting in touch with me.
Given that our version of masters water polo is 99% scrimmaging we will not have it on the calendar any time soon. There is some chance of organizing a shoot-around, but distancing rules will apply and be enforced.
Hosting Splashball is theoretically much easier. The issue is simply finding time on the calendar. The pool is in very heavy use during the summers. But given the interest in it we will do our best to find a time once a month for our youngest athletes.
Training Under Covid-19 Rules
As mentioned to our families a week ago Wednesday the rules under which we are operating are provided by the City of Round Rock. In general, we are simply following the local guidance as has been conveyed to Coach Mark. For water polo here’s what we’re doing.
We have set up many lounge chairs, each of which is located at least two meters from the next, for each athlete. As they enter the facility they are required to stay at or around their lounge chair. It is the same for dry-land work and conversations with coaches. You can see the setup in one of the attached photos.
No parents are allowed on the deck and masks are optional and up to each family.
During swim sets we copy the swim team. To keep athletes two meters apart we try to limit each lane to two swimmers located at opposite ends of the pool. If there were a third swimmer, he or she would have to remain somewhere two meters away, half tank for example.
Our water polo training rules are pretty simple: stay two meters away. Given that simple rule we have found it relatively easy to do individual skills, pass, shoot, do front court offense work, and even scrimmage under some unique covid-19 rules.
We held our first “scrimmage” on Thursday (photos attached) with mixed results. Those rules:
- touching another athlete means expulsion – get dressed and go home
- violation of the two meters rule is an exclusion.
- 20 seconds possession, five consecutive possessions per team (front court only)
- any shot block or goalie save = 1 point for the defense
- offensive shots earn 1, 3, 5, or 7 points depending on distance
- shots that miss the cage entirely (not caused by a deflection) are punished – the shooting team must sprint to the goal wall and back to the perimeter.
- we were going to give defenders noodles to both play defense and keep distance but they were missing.
- I barely blew the whistle at all for 20 minutes
- Our scoring system was very unbalanced. Athletes (almost exclusively boys…) nearly always chose to shoot from the 7-point distance with poor results.
- The scoring system discouraged movement, something we will change.
- Not a single expulsion or exclusion took place. Our athletes respected the distance rules.
- It was so good to even mimic “normal” competition. It was a good day.
See you on the deck,
Splashball is here – our first session was Saturday the 22nd. And our high schoolers are already getting pub after the first tournament of the season. Spring has sprung and here comes a busy season.
We had our first Splashball session on Saturday with new coach Hayley. Thanks to those who came and we’ll look forward to seeing you again in March. Next session is on Sunday, March 29 at 10:00 AM, a day we plan to host age group scrimmages too. To participate young athletes (5-11) will need to sign up via this USA Water Polo link ($10 per calendar year).
Longhorn High School Spring Invite
The first weekend of high school competition is over with some great results for our athletes and surprising outcomes in the competition. Zairis was a key contributor for the RoRo girls and Zach is using his new skills at center to make his mark for Cedar Park. Read more about them and many more current and former AquaTexans on TXWaterpolo and TISCAWestWaterpolo.com.
High School Tournaments
A schedule should be out next Monday for our first hosted event of the year, the AQTX TISCA High School Spring Tournament on March 6 and 7. With the schedule will also be assignments for desk work by our athletes. Danny Dixon will be helping to gather other volunteers as well. These are extremely important fund-raisers for the water polo club and plans are to direct those funds toward some much needed new equipment. Game clocks and new team caps come to mind.
Update your USAWP Account
A reminder that athletes must be currently registered with USA Water Polo to practice with or compete for AquaTex. Take a moment to make sure you’re membership is current (Bronze level at a minimum). And update your ID photos. The referees when checking IDs aren’t impressed by how cute you were in 4th grade. They want to see a recent photo!
Both our scheduled parent meetings were wiped out by weather so we’ll look to put a couple new dates on the calendar for March. It should last no more than 30 minutes and will cover several things like Junior Olympics, team philosophy, goals for the club, fees and logistics, volunteering, events we are hosting, communications, and more. Coach James and Danny Dixon will lead the conversation.
See you on the deck,