Scorpions Ball is a fun and safe way for kids age 5-11 to combine swimming and team sports in our shallow-bottom pool with fun and good coaches.
Covid guidelines for the Texas Challenge Cup, a very brief intro to college recruiting, and new caps! Plus other important stuff like weekend practice, Boerne, hotel options, and welcome to a couple new athletes.
Texas Challenge Cup Details
Our friends at Thunder Water Polo have published the Covid guidelines for its upcoming Texas Challenge Cup. Take a moment to read this in detail so athletes and families are prepared for the indoor competition. And here’s the schedule.
Signed up for the AQTX 14u coed team: Austin, Jacob, James, Kelly, Luca, Morgan, Riley, Joey, Cruz and maybe Aaron. For LoneStar/Mavericks 18u girls team, Cammi, Kendall and Morgan. They’re both playing at the same facility so I should be there for all our games.
Mr. Gerakos (thank you) has volunteered to be the team videographer for our games at the tournament. Thunder will apparently be using an app that allows four separate streams to be pushed to a single site or app so that all the games will be available centrally. I’ll send details whenever I get them from Thunder.
Tournament Hotel Info
Thunder has secured a group rate at the newly renovated Hampton Inn & Suites Lewisville, TX. The rate is $79/night for 2 Queen Bed Rooms. [link coming soon].
Also, Fairfield by Marriott DFW Airport-Coppell/Grapevine, a new hotel at 150 Northpoint Dr. Coppell, TX 76051
Team rates $79 plus tax, 13%. Contact Catherine Johnson to book your team.
No Weekend in Boerne
Aqua Swift hosted a mini tournament last Sunday with some good results for our AquaTex (Longhorn, really) teams – nice work Tristan! The scrimmage we tentatively planned for this Sunday in Boerne is going to get pushed off. There’s a good chance we’ll invite Aqua Swift up to scrimmage us on an open weekend. So…
Is on! Sunday November 8, noon to 2:00 PM. Here’s what our first (very productive) Sunday practice looked like.
Masters is still not nailed down but I think will be soon. Still no physical contact. Stay tuned.
Intro to College Recruiting
I’ll be adding more recruiting info on the site soon. But there’s a ton already available on TXWaterpolo.com. Go check that out.
There are MANY other steps an athlete and family need to take in order to successfully choose a college that offers water polo, and this is an excellent guide that answers a lot of questions. But here are a couple highlights of tasks necessary to play varsity collegiate water polo.
- High School Freshman Year: get to work on your academics right away. One theme that cannot be stressed enough is that good grades and test scores make decisions easier for college coaches, and can lead to significant financial aid via academic scholarships.
- Sophomore Year: Academics (always); get a working copy of your water polo resume going and keep it up to date, for example, adding tournament participation or awards after they take place. Start to research schools that offer varsity water polo AND truly fit your academic needs. Academics come first. Your aim should be to limit the list to 10-15 schools at this point.
- Junior Year: Academics (surprise!). Begin to gather high quality game footage of yourself. On September 1 of an athlete’s junior year, Division I coaches are allowed to begin calling, texting athletes.
- Senior Year: Interaction with college coaches becomes routine and very important. Coaches are now allowed to call prospective student athletes once per week. Students are allowed to contact the coach as many times as they wish. Time to hone in on top choices for schools and express serious, genuine interest.
Welcome New Athletes
Two more new athletes joined us on a trial basis on Monday and were great additions to the team. Thanks to Maddi, Tomas, and their families for giving AQTX a try.
We will be entering a 9th grade and under coed team for this year’s Texas Age Group Championships (water polo) on December 12-13 at the Lewisville ISD Eastside Aquatic Center, 5729 Memorial Dr,The Colony,TX 75056. More registration info coming up.
I may have failed to mention we have new caps. Or maybe not. Behold:
Thanks to our friends at RYTE Sports for coming through with the best caps in Texas. #oneteamonedream
See you on the deck,
According to the Statesman: “Cold front to bring drizzly rain, whipping winds, biting chill to Austin area.” That sounds like parka time and no more mosquito spray. Practice is ON for tonight. Meanwhile, other things important to our expanding club.
Invited to Compete in Boerne (Updated)
Aqua Swift has invited us to a mini tournament on Sunday, Nov. 1 (we’ve now declined to attend that event) and a practice/scrimmage on Sunday, Nov. 8. I’m inclined to do the scrimmage on the 8th only,
but if there’s sufficient demand we can do the tourney on Nov. 1, which would include all age groups and teams from Aqua Swift, AquaTex/Longhorn, and Zilla. As always, let me know what you think, AQTX families.
Potential New Coach
As some of you know I’ve been corresponding with a young coach who has plans to move from Los Angeles to Pflugerville before the end of the year. He has an interest in starting a home improvement construction company. So if any of our families has some advice for him, or connections to the industry, I’d like to share it with him. Based on his background and our conversations he could be a good fit for the club. Hoping it works out.
Our first Sunday practice is this weekend on Nov. 1 from noon to 2:00 PM. The calendar is also clearing up so we can have more Saturday practices (not this Saturday). Both Saturdays and Sundays have been added to the calendar for the rest of 2020.
For the next few months at least we’ve switched our Scorpions Ball days from Thursdays to select Saturdays, noon to 1:00 PM. Go to the calendar for more.
Masters Coming Back
Masters is coming back soon (again, keep checking the calendar) but we just need to nail down the exact dates given the conflicts with other events we’ve experienced. Still no physical contact. Stay tuned.
I’ve updated the calendar on this site so that it includes events from all the ones below to better show our overall agenda and scheduling conflicts that prevent us from having practices or other stuff:
- AquaTex Waterpolo Google Calendar, to include my personal travel
- AQTX Swim and Waterpolo Team Events for meets, water polo tournaments
- AQTX Swim & Waterpolo General, for swim and water polo practice times
- Round Rock HS Swim Team, for meet conflicts
- USA Water Polo’s ODP Southwest Zone to show when I’m committed to coach that program
Texas Challenge Cup (Updated)
I’m very pleased to see the list of those who have committed to this tournament. I want to be clear about the status of AquaTex roster(s). The tournament was in such high demand that all the slots were filled before AquaTex/Longhorn could register 12u coed, 18u girls, 18u boys teams. We successfully registered a 14u coed team. So, for our athletes who want to play but are too old for the 14u team I will be contacting coaches of participating teams to see if they have roster spots available.
The following athletes are committed to the 14u coed team for the Texas Challenge Cup: Austin, Jacob, James, Kelly, Luca, Morgan, Riley.
Also committed are Cammi, Cameron, and Kendall, for whom I’ll try to find teams to play on.
One interesting fact about the upcoming 14u coed team that’s going to the Texas Challenge Cup in a couple weeks: no fans will be allowed inside EXCEPT if you volunteer to stream the game to the public. Do we have any volunteers? You can push the stream to any platform you want. Almost any platform…
Last Thursday we began talking about pressing front court defense. That video is now online
will be online by Tuesday so be sure to take a look before Wednesday’s practice. Next topic is running a zone or drop defense. Take notes!
One of our newest members just had a birthday a couple weeks ago, before she joined us full time. So happy 14th birthday to Ava (Oct. 13) and to Aaron (Oct. 2)!
See you on the deck in warm clothing,
After a frenzy of activity over the past three weeks we get a chance for a breather and can start new, with more chalk talks, new gear, new athletes (we hope!) and a tournament on the near horizon.
You’ll notice in the photo above some strange new water polo goals, the first since the club started playing. We’re very grateful to the Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy for donating them to us and we plan on putting them to very good use.
As mentioned last week our Thursday chalk talks are now part of the practice regimen. They take place every Thursday at 7:30 PM (Zoom links are sent individually or via GroupMe). Athletes are expected to take their own notes during the sessions, or while watching archived videos. They will be tested! Take a look at our first session recorded last Thursday. And I’ll see you on Zoom tomorrow.
Texas Challenge Cup Roster Call
We have already signed up a 14u team for the Texas Challenge Cup on November 14-15 in Lewisville. Longhorn will be combining with us again for that roster and others, likely including 12u coed, 18u boys, 18u girls, and maybe 16u boys. To indicate your athlete’s interest in playing be sure to log on to your TeamUnify account and “Edit Commitment” for this event.
The 14u co-ed roster that I’ve submitted to USAWP is below. It does not commit any athlete to actually playing but it costs us nothing to keep an athlete on the roster in case they become available to play. I’ll share the other rosters when they are ready.
|Ava Chamas (tentative)||20|
|Luca de Araujo||4|
|Tristan Chamas (tentative)||19|
Our monthly Scorpions Ball session for newcomers age 5-11 is next on Thursday, October 22 at 6:30 PM. Be sure to sign up at USA Water Polo for the required “Splashball Pass Holder” membership if you have not already. Coach Hayley will be leading the session. Bring a friend!
We plan to add practice times on Sunday in order to take advantage of having the whole deep-water pool for training. It will tentatively begin in November (on Sundays that are not already occupied by other events) from noon to 2:00 PM.
Coach Shannon, Esq.
Austin College is featuring its water polo athletes in their “Meet the ROOs” series. Coach Shannon with the social media pub!
— AC Water Polo (@AustinCollegeWP) October 20, 2020
Have a great week everyone,
It’s fair to say that this has been the busiest and most consequential three weeks in AquaTex Waterpolo history. The Southwest Zone held its first ever clinic at our pool in Round Rock on September 25-26 with great results followed by the biggest tournament ever hosted by AquaTex spanning the following two weekends.
So it has to be said up front: my genuine thanks for everyone who volunteered to make the weekend as big a success as it was. Your good work was noticed and mentioned by many people who attended. Thank you.
Central Texas Festival
The response has been huge. AquaTex and our friends at Zilla put on the first USA Water Polo tournament in the US since March hosting 74 games (!) played by nearly 40 teams from as far away as Ventura, California. The feedback has been great (check out the kind words in our Twitter mentions and Instagram feed) from so many who were there.
Meanwhile, while our families toiled on the deck we actually played a bunch of games too, with the 14u and 12u mixed teams finishing well on the fourth and our older players getting four games of quality water polo this past weekend.
…had a challenging weekend with a short roster, some very new athletes, and a big win on Sunday over Lone Star/Mavericks to end the tournament on a high note. The team fell to some very experienced teams from Cowtown, Thunder, and Viper Pigeon but showed genuine improvement as the weekend progressed. Yet more hard work and demonstrable learning by Kendall, Morgan, Cammi, and Nilmary along with their Longhorn friends.
The team was so big we were able to basically play an entirely AquaTex lineup for periods of time. And the boys did well against another group of very strong and experienced opponents. They finished Saturday with a decisive win over Cowtown, but fell to Lone Star/Mavericks, Southside, and Viper Pigeons. Great work and improvement, again, by all our boys: Riley in goal and the field, Alexander (with the goal of the weekend, probably), Mac, Aaron, Luca, and Cameron.
Final results for the 18u brackets are online here.
It was a great way to get mentally ready for the next level of competition on November 14-15 in Lewisville at the Texas Challenge Cup. We’ve already entered a 14u mixed team and will likely do the same for 12u mixed, 18u, and maybe 16u if Thunder schedules it. As I mentioned in a recent Zoom call, we will continue to expand the amount we compete. It’s an exciting time for the club.
Ok, how about a photo gallery of the 14u team (will share pics of the other teams as soon as I can)? My thanks to James Jacks, a huge supporter of water polo and the parent of a Viper Pigeon we played against.
Our next session (formerly Splashball) is on Thursday, October 22 with Coach Halyey. The program is for kids age 5-11 and is a fun, safe way to churn some shallow water and throw a ball around. For more info visit our programs page or contact us.
Thursday Chalk Talk
Parents, our athletes should be aware of our (mostly) regular meetings via Zoom on Thursdays at 7:30 PM. Given the lack of teaching time and facilities at Micki this is a vital way for us to learn about how we want to play the game. It should not be considered optional and we’re working on ways to test the athletes about what they’ve learned. For those who absolutely must miss these sessions they will be recorded and are expected to be watched. A Zoom invite should arrive via email and GroupMe.
My genuine gratitude for all the volunteer help this weekend was accompanied by a feeling that our athletes should be rewarded for how much they contribute to the club while not in the pool. Expect to see a Google survey asking you to track the number of hours you worked at the desk or elsewhere during this past tournament.
It sounds like TAGS will take place in North Texas in early December. The annual USA Water Polo tournament is for teams comprised of 9th graders and younger, and 7th graders and younger. You can bet we will be entering at least one team. Precise date and location to be determined.
Thank you all, and I’ll 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,