NISD Natatorium & Northside Swim Center, 13240 Skyhawk Dr, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
NISD Natatorium & Northside Swim Center, 13240 Skyhawk Dr, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
There’s a lot to cover. First, big thanks to all our coaches who are taking care of business while I’m overseas with the family. I’ll return on June 3 and am (obviously) still in communication with y’all.
The schedule is out. Coaches Matt and Savvy will be updating all our participants via GroupMe. Good luck and have a great weekend in San Antonio.
Keep an eye on GroupMe for announcements from Coach Alon about practice this weekend. It’s entirely possible we’ll cancel since most will be in San Antonio or out of town for the holiday.
The summer training schedule is here:
High School Waterpolo Training Group
– Tuesday 7 – 9 PM
– Friday 7:15 – 9:15 PM
– Saturday (select): 10 AM – noon
– Sunday: 10 AM – noon
Age Group Waterpolo Training Group
– Tuesday 6-8 PM
– Friday 7:15 – 9:15 PM
– Saturday (select): 9 AM – 11 AM
– Sunday: 9 AM – 11 AM
Novice Waterpolo Training Group
– Tuesday 6-7 PM
– Friday 7:15 – 8:15 PM
– Saturday (select): 9 AM – 10 AM
– Sunday: 9 AM – 10 AM
– Sunday 10 AM – 11 AM
Regarding our Tuesday practices, we may consolidate them on occasion and start only at 7PM to accommodate coaches’ schedules. A reminder that our goofy summer schedule is meant to maximize the amount of deep-water training we get during the pool’s busiest time of year.
By Junior Olympics I mean the JOs Qualifier Tournament, The Southwest Zone Festival, and then Sessions 1-3 of Junior Olympics themselves. Here’s an update, and some task items for those of you participating.
If you are playing for a non-AquaTex Team (Longhorn, Alamo Area) you need to change your club affiliation. If you are not in communication with Longhorn or Alamo Area let me know.
14u boys are paid and registered for the JOs Qualifier/JOs Session 1. A couple reminders:
Qualifier games will begin on Friday, June 9 itself so prepare for early Friday morning games (I’ll be checking in on Thursday afternoon). The location in Cypress again with our games likely to all be at the CFISD Natatorium next to Pridgeon Stadium.
Our aim is to place top six in the category which would earn us a trip to California! If we don’t achieve that we will most definitely play at Session 3 JOs in North Texas at the end of July instead of at Session 1. I personally won’t be making California travel plans until after the Qualifer tournament but advise our families to at least begin looking for or even booking refundable flights and hotels near Irvine, CA for for Session 1.
18u boys are registered and paid for Session 3 of JOs and will be registered and paid for the SWZ Festival on or before May 31. Remember that these two tournaments are basically separate: one does not affect the other. There is no qualifier for Session 3. The Festival is a great warmup tournament for our team and we will enter it, but athletes are not required to be on the SWZ Festival roster to play at Session 3.
Plans are already afoot among parents for traveling to Session 3. Keep an eye on GroupMe for hotel suggestions, etc.
Also, we’re very pleased to have Kaden from Longhorn joining our roster as a goalie. Thanks to him and his family! We’ll make introductions very soon.
For those headed to Session 3 plan on a team dinner on July 26 tentatively set for 6:30 PM at the Black Walnut Cafe in Coppell. We’ll both celebrate our participation at JOs and (unfortunately) say farewell to Coach Alon.
I see that some have ordered our new backpack and it looks great. For JOs in particular it would be great to see our athletes donning that gear. You can see our Arena collection here.
A JOs t-shirt is coming. Promise!
A reminder that we’re going to attempt to field a team of high schoolers this fall who do not have a UIL team to play for. And, the good news is that Houston will also be fielding a consolidated team in addition to the one in Dallas. So there’s competition to be had for those who want it. If you haven’t already, fill out this form to show your interest, and please do share it with anyone you know who wants to play high school water polo this fall.
See you on the deck (soon).
|AQTX 16u b
|Saul JR Gutierrez
This is the final tournament of the Spring so good luck to all our athletes. Show how far you’ve progressed in the past couple months, work hard, and have a good time!
Some specific notes for/about our athletes and families:
Here are a few things about traveling to tournaments for newcomers and oldsters alike:
This is a friendly reminder of the upcoming Welcome to Texas Showdown over Memorial Day Weekend in San Antonio, TX at the Northside ISD Swim Center. The Team Registration Deadline is Friday, May 19th . USA Water Polo is working with San Antonio Sports/Northside ISD to make this a premier event for all clubs/teams. There will be teams coming in from across the country and throughout the state/zone. Northside ISD Swim Center is a world class, outdoor-indoor venue with up to five all deep courses plus stadium seating for the 50 meter pool (NISD Swim Center Website). The Welcome to Texas Shootout will have games from 7:30 am – 8:00 pm on both Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, September May 28th. We suggest coaches/athletes/parents plan on coming in on Friday and staying overnight on Sunday evening. We suggest getting hotel rooms ASAP…you can always cancel later. Tournament Hotel Options: Welcome to Texas Showdown – Hotel Information.
San Antonio is a great place to visit in Texas. For the parents/families, there are plenty of outdoor activities, amusement parks, restaurants, food trucks, BBQ joints, breweries, etc. to visit and enjoy. For the athletes/teams, there will be opportunities to visit area activities such as Six Flags – Fiesta Texas, Sea World, the Alamo, the Riverwalk, etc. All teams will receive discounts for area restaurants and attractions (including Six Flags and Sea World). WeI hope all the Southwest Zone clubs will be entering and supporting this event throughout the various age groups/divisions. Clubs should register for the tournament ASAP…Welcome to Texas Showdown – Online Team Registration.
Welcome to Texas Showdown – 2023:
It’s already here: qualifying for Junior Olympics and the Southwest Zone Festival kick off this weekend. Some more details on that, plus some really excellent results from the Welcome to Texas Shootout.
We are updating our event page quite often and just added Friday’s schedule so take a look again if you haven’t recently. There’s also a bit of an explainer about the difference between quals and the festival for Longhorn/AquaTex teams (not a whole lot, it turns out). Only Longhorn 14u boys and 18u boys will be playing on Friday – that’s one thing we’re certain about.
For our two AquaTex teams – 18u girls, 16u boys – as always meet your team one hour before game time. 18u girls are working with Coach Kendall and 16u boys with me (Coach James). Use the GroupMe groups if you have any questions or issues. Don’t be late!
It was so gratifying to observe from a distance how we performed at WTTS. In the end, our 16u boys finished third after a very interesting tie-breaker decision that decided the championship matchup (I guess next time we’ll run up the score when we can… or not). The 18u boys finished fifth with a very close game against that good team from Southside. 14u mixed earned a very good fourth place finish and the 12u mixed team got fifth. Congratulations to all our athletes who participated, and to our coaches: Matthew, Kendall, Cole and Tomas. And if you have any more photos from the weekend just let me know and I’ll share a Google Photos link with you where you can upload them.
Coach Tom and I have discussed our July tournament plans and have decided to skip the Endless Summer Classic and instead focus on the Suns Out Guns Out tournament in Pearland AND North Texas on July 9-10. That’ll serve as our final official competition prior to Junior Olympics.
A reminder that AquaTex middle school and high school practices will be on Tuesday and Friday only this week. There is no practice for those age groups on Saturday or Sunday, June 11-12. Masters is ON this Sunday from 9:30 to 11:00 AM. Thanks for the big turnout on June 5! And we had a huge turnout for Swim2Score last Thursday. It is ON again this Thursday at 10:00 AM. Check the calendar for the latest on our training schedule.
Summer travel issues have an effect on coaches too, you know. Notice that Coach Alon is traveling in Italy and, surely, elsewhere in Europe until July. And Coach James will be in France for 10 days beginning on June 13. Middle school and high school athletes will be delighted to know that they’ll be in the good hands of Coaches Kendall, Matthew, and Babs throughout that period. Just remember to bring a water bottle!
That’s all for now. See you on the deck.
A quick update as many of us head down to San Antonio this weekend. Good luck to everyone representing AquaTex at this weekend’s Welcome to Texas Shootout!
Our summer schedule is now firmer though not set in stone. We are attempting to maximize the amount of time we get in the deep pool as the number of available hours decreases due to the impacted summer schedule. As always we attempt to keep all training updates current on our calendar.
May 30 – July 8
If you are playing for an AquaTex or Longhorn team at Junior Olympics this summer there are steps that you need to take as soon as possible if they haven’t been already. Club affiliation and Gold membership are the priority:
Have a great weekend, everyone.
See you on the deck,
James Smith Announcement, News AquaTex Swim Team, Coaches, Facilities, Girls Prep, Junior Olympics, News Update, Parent Meeting, Roster Call, Schedule, Southwest Zone Championships, Welcome to Texas Shootout
The high school season is over which means it is essentially summer. We have ambitious plans for the next few months and, as always, have to adjust our training schedule to fit the city’s summer needs. There is a lot here so, AquaTex families, please read it all.
In order to maximize the amount of time we get in the deep pool we are doing our annual schedule changes. As always we attempt to keep all training updates current on our calendar.
Ends May 29
May 30 – July 8
Parents are asked to join us in a mandatory Zoom meeting with coaches on Tuesday, May 17 at 7:00 PM. We will cover details from both coaches and parents about our plans for Junior Olympics this summer, but also other stuff:
We’ll share Zoom invites via GroupMe and email so if you’re new to the program please be sure to join the GroupMe and that we have a current, working email address. Contact me for a link to GroupMe and/or any email address updates, or if you have any topics you’d like us to cover.
It’s confirmed that those teams that plan to register directly for JOs Session 3 in North Texas are invited to the Southwest Zone Festival, which takes place simultaneously with the Junior Olympic Qualifier Tournament June 10-12 at CyFair and other local pools. This tournament will help the Zone seed teams for JOs Session 3 so it is NOT considered optional. We will send our best rosters and try to get the highest seeds possible.
The deadline for us to register is Friday, May 20. Spaces are filling up so please go to the Tournament Commitment Google Sheet to make any updates. You can find tournament info, including current rosters, on the tournament event page.
Again, filling up quickly. In particular we’re looking to add to the AquaTex 16u boys and 18u girls teams, and the Longhorn 10u team, headed to Session 3 in North Texas (breaking news). More info on the JOs Qualifiers page. The form for committing to play at JOs is different than our Tournament Commitment Sheet so please let me know if you need the link.
Not only did Cammi earn MVP honors from West Region Coaches for her high school season, we also now have in our presence the West Region’s Coach of the Year from Round Rock High School! I’m delighted that Tom Arredondo will be helping us coach this summer and hopefully beyond. He’s been the very successful swim coach at Round Rock HS for well over a decade and has coached the water polo teams on and off since it was created in (around) 2011. Welcome aboard, Coach Tom.
I have been speaking with some of our athletes, especially our middle school-aged ones, about joining a swim team. I’d like to make that case more strongly to our parents whose athletes are not already part of a swim program.
Obviously our game depends on mobility, which means efficient swimming. As you can tell from our training schedule we have limited time to strictly develop swimming skills. And our coaching staff has been assembled not for teaching swim technique (though we all have some skills in that regard) but in technical and tactical water polo skills. That is our focus.
To put it directly, we need to improve our swimming skills and speed, especially among our younger athletes. So if your athlete is not already signed up for a team we suggest as strongly as possible that you do so. Of course, we want all our athletes to swim for AquaTex. But a summer league team can be a huge help, and we have athletes who swim for other programs as well. The point is simply that, we need to get faster and have more stamina. And it takes specific swim training to do so.
To be clear: swim lessons and recreational swimming on your own are not substitutes for training with a team with qualified coaches. If you are interested in playing water polo in college, for example, it’s a rare thing for someone to do so without some swimming background. Take a listen to my conversation with three-time Olympian and NCAA Champion coach at UCLA, Adam Wright, who makes specific reference to swimming skills as a requirement for water polo success (that discussion starts around the 24:00 mark, but do listen to it all!).
Contact me if you have questions but I hope you’ll take my point seriously and help our team get better more quickly. And, as always, thanks for your support.
It’s been mentioned by a few people that AISD schools are poised to drop water polo prior to the first UIL season this fall due to a lack of training facilities. That would eliminate programs for many of our friends at schools such as Austin, Anderson, McCallum, and LASA. My understanding is that at least a couple of those schools have already come to an agreement to use Austin city pools during the UIL season. We’ll share the news when those plans are final but I think the concern for those programs is premature… thankfully.
Travis Benson, one of our masters players and father to two of our awesome Swim2Score athletes, plays a key role in the construction of the new Round Rock ISD Natatorium. So here are a couple photos of what it looked like on April 28. Rumors are that it may open pretty soon.
See you on the deck,
All the teams entered in this tournament will play as AquaTex. Coach Tom from Longhorn will be busy welcoming a new child to the family so we’ve stepped up to take on the organizing role. I (Coach James) will also not be there while I celebrate my daughter’s graduation all weekend. Obviously you will recognize lots of Longhorn athletes and coaches on our rosters as usual.
We have some newcomers to the club and to USA Water Polo tournament competition so please take note:
USA Water Polo is working with San Antonio Sports/Northside ISD to make this a premier event for all clubs/teams. There will be teams coming in from across the country and throughout the state/zone. Northside ISD Swim Center is a world class, outdoor-indoor venue with up to five all deep courses plus stadium seating for the 50 meter pool (NISD Swim Center Website). The Welcome to Texas Shootout will have games from 7:30 am – 8:00 pm on both Saturday, May 28th and Sunday, September May 29th. We suggest coaches/athletes/parents plan on coming in on Friday and staying overnight on Sunday evening. We suggest getting hotel rooms ASAP…you can always cancel later. Tournament Hotel Information.
San Antonio is a great place to visit in Texas. For the parents/families, there are plenty of outdoor activities, amusement parks, restaurants, food trucks, BBQ joints, breweries, etc. to visit and enjoy. For the athletes/teams, there will be opportunities to visit area activities such as Six Flags – Fiesta Texas, Sea World, the Alamo, the Riverwalk, etc. All teams will receive discounts for area restaurants and attractions (including Six Flags and Sea World). We hope all the Southwest Zone clubs will be entering and supporting this event throughout the various age groups/divisions.
The Welcome to Texas Shootout ended with big success for AquaTex athletes and the Longhorn teams for which they played. Our 14u mixed and 18u boys (coed) teams each finished third with wins over Mavericks, Viper Pigeon and CFWPC, and very close losses to Thunder and Pegasus, some of our best results ever. Read all the scores here.
Aaron, Declan, and Kendall all were big contributors to the 18u success, including an in-your-face moment when Aaron put away his penalty shot after an opposing coach let him and everyone in the facility know he wasn’t going to succeed (no vertical lunges for Aaron!). Both Kendall and Declan showed that they could play up against these talented opponents and – most importantly? – displayed some serious defensive skills (#proudcoach). Oh, and Aaron also anchored the 14u team because he felt it was important to play eight games instead of four.
Needless to say, it was a great weekend for our athletes and their Longhorn friends, most of whom were on our Junior Olympics rosters. Congratulations to all of them, and a huge shout out to parents who went to support their efforts.
Longhorn will be bringing the crew to Micki this Sunday the 12th for a local game day scrimmage. The pool will open at 8:30 for warmup followed by an hour or more of scrimmaging for our youngest athletes (Swim2Score will scrimmage separately). This is a chance for all our newcomers to hop in, cap up, and play in a competitive setting maybe for the first time. It is most definitely a chance to learn so all AQTX middle schoolers are expected to attend. And we’ll try to break out the clocks I bought right as the pandemic was beginning, so high schoolers can show up and run them.
High school practice will still begin at 10:00 AM and will also likely include a lot of controlled scrimmaging.
Finally, we invite our Swim2Score athletes and anyone 11 and under from Longhorn to play some splashball beginning at 10:30 or so, after a short warmup.
Now that summer is over it’s time for parents and coaches to convene. We will meet via Zoom on Tuesday, September 14 at 7:00 PM. Families will be sent a link or two (in case we go over 40 minutes) to the conference in the coming days.
We will cover issues such as the fall schedule, which tournaments we are focusing on attending, our partnership with Longhorn, plans for growth, getting to know our coaches, and more about the culture we’re trying to build with AquaTex Waterpolo. If you have any subjects you think should be covered let me know as soon as possible, and be on the look out for that email invitation to Zoom. It’s an important time for our club so the maximum possible attendance is appreciated, whether new to the club or not.
Take a moment to look at our Calendar and select only “USA Water Polo – Southwest Water Polo.” You’ll see the tournament schedule for the next few months. After a discussion with Longhorn we plan to enter teams at the Viper Pigeon Octopolofest, Texas Challenge Cup, and the Cowtown tournament traditionally held in December (not yet on the USAWP calendar). AQTX families will be getting a link to an updated commitment spreadsheet so we can plan our travel rosters. We urge our families to set aside time for these important events as we attempt to increase the amount and quality of competition in which we participate.
And we strongly encourage our athletes to participate in USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development Program. The first camp is at UT on Sunday, September 19 and you can register here via your (new) USAWP profile. Newcomers can consult this for more information about the program, or contact AquaTex families that have participated in past years. And even though I stepped down as head coach I am still involved with the program and can answer a lot of questions. It’s a great way to accelerate your learning of the game and potentially travel with teams of fellow Texans to compete against others from throughout the US.
Consult the calendar as we make changes to adapt to swim meets and other stuff at Micki, and follow us on social media as we increase the amount of info we share that way. And if you don’t know our GroupMe link let me know so we can add you.
All practices are cancelled the weekend of September 25-26 due to an age-group swim meet. We may have a game day at UT on Sunday the 26th.
We’re very pleased to welcome a new 12u athlete, Rudy, to the club. He joins Siri and Gavin (14u), who had some great trial practices and we hope they’ll join us permanently. For them an any other family new to our program, several of the questions you may have about what comes next are here. Welcome to all of you.
Coach Matt has been missing recently for a good reason. He’s back home in the Chicago-land area and will be competing in Madison at the Ironman Wisconsin on Sunday, the 12th. We wish him the best of luck, hope he wins, and then rushes back to Austin. Have a great time, and #BeYourBest Smiley!
See you on the deck,
|14u mixed (entered)
|18u co-ed (entered)
USA Water Polo would like to invite your team to the Welcome to Texas Shootout in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. The tournament will be a two-day event at the Northside ISD Natatorium for 18U Boys, 18U Girls, 16U Boys, 16U Girls, 14U Boys, 14U Girls and 12U Mixed age groups. A USAWP Bronze level membership (or higher), birth date verification, and a COVID-19 Waiver is required for participation in this event.
Tournament Dates: Saturday September 4 – Sunday September 5, 2021
Location: Northside ISD Swim Center, 8400 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio, Texas 78249, https://nisd.net/athletics/aquatics
Registration Deadline: August 22, 2021, 9pm (PT) [AquaTex/Longhorn deadline is the day prior]
Roster Deadline: August 27, 2021, 9pm (PT)
Roster Lockdown: August 30, 2021, 9pm (PT)
You can find more information, including Hotel Blocks on the WELCOME TO TEXAS webpage.
Pool time is available on Friday 8/3 for warm-up/pre-event practice.