By Lee Schoenbart
Once the Ormsbys came to Cathedral Catholic water polo, it was like a scene out of the Pixar animated film “The Incredibles” — superheroes under the guise of a working-class family.
There’s Brett Ormsby, the coach and former Olympic water polo player; his wife, Thalia, for moral support, also an ex-Olympian; and his dad, Greg Ormsby, a previous high school and college standout turned coach.
Ormsby is widely credited by his players and their parents for guiding the Cathedral Catholic High School varsity boys water polo to its first CIF championship.
The top-seeded Dons (24-4) reached the finals for the first time since 1992 under second-year coach Ormsby.
A 6-5 victory over Coronado at La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool on Nov. 21 led Cathedral to become the first school other than Coronado or Bishop’s to win the Division II title since Grossmont in 1996.
“I worked with these guys from the time I took the job, and the majority of the team were seniors this year, so they were juniors when I took over, and we spent the entire off-season training for the CIF championships,” said Ormsby, who played for his dad at Valhalla High, went to UCLA and was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.
“We talked about it a lot,” he said. “I took the entire team, every single member of the CIF championship team, with me and the rest of my coaching staff to Europe last summer. We went to Croatia and played against some club teams over there, a place where water polo is one of the top sports.
“That was a really neat experience for the kids to go to a part of the world where water polo is really important, where you see fans everywhere, you see water polo courses set up in the ocean. That’s where it started, and the season went great,” he said.
“I had high expectations for them, and they exceeded those expectations in almost every, single way,” Ormsby said. “I hoped that we would win at least one tournament and we won two; to win our league, which we did; to win CIF, and that was our ultimate goal and we accomplished it.
“It was a great season,” he said. “It was fun to see all the kids reach their potential. Everything came together for them.”
Some of those die-hard water polo players will get to realize their dreams of playing on the collegiate level in the fall.
“I have three kids who are committed and I think it’s going to end up being more,” Ormsby said. Those student-athletes are goalie Stephen White (UCLA), utility player Chris Fahlsing (UCLA) and attacker/driver Julian Colina (Bucknell).
Together, Ormsby and his father opened the Del Mar Water Polo Club. When the younger Ormsby took the coaching job at Cathedral, he and his father realized that in order to be successful, current and future water polo players needed somewhere special to hone their talents and skills.
“I just knew that you can’t expect to play water polo three months a year and be successful at it. You’ve got to play year-round,” Ormsby said. “I started it originally for the first six to nine months as something to get my kids training in the off-season, and get them playing games in the off-season.”
For information, contact Ormsby at (858) 523-4000, ext. 1342, or e-mail
To learn more, visit www.cathedralcatholic.org/
athletics and www.delmarwaterpoloclub.org.