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Del Mar water polo team wins national championship

Del Mar Water Polo Club’s 12 & under Boys A team members celebrate their national championship.
Del Mar Water Polo Club’s 12 & under Boys A team members celebrate their national championship.
(Kim Hawkins)

The Del Mar Water Polo Club’s 12 & under Boys A team recently brought home gold in the Platinum Championship division during the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics held July 17-20 in Orange County, Calif.

The boys made it through the gauntlet, winning all seven of their tournament-style games and defeating the Vanguard Aquatics in the final championship match. This was the first Junior Olympics gold medal ever won by the Del Mar Water Polo Club in any age bracket, boys or girls.

Led by head coach Jakov Belamaric and coach Miles Wilson, the team maintained a consistent lead throughout the final game and secured their win with a decisive three-point differential.

“I am so happy to see these guys enjoy the rewards for all the hard work they put in,” said Belamaric. “It has been a unique year with the COVID pandemic and how it relates to the training situation. This group did not sink, but actually saw an opportunity to really improve.

“We set the goal to keep improving every single day, to do it together and have fun with it, and then see how far that can take us.

“It took us to first place in the nation with an undefeated season to bring the first national title for our club. I can’t be more proud of this group.”

Head coach Belamaric described his focus on team-oriented game play, with emphasis placed on the skills demonstrated by his five team captains: Braylen Axline as the best center and offensive player, Jett Taylor as the best defender and a dominant presence in the pool, Eamon Bruhn as the fastest and best left-handed player, Diego Dantas as an elite two-way player, and Luke Anderson as the glue of the team and best goalie.

After the game, Luke was named MVP because of his superb contributions as goalie. During second-quarter commentary provided through GameOn Studio, former national team water polo player and USA Olympian Genai Kerr described the crushing Del Mar defense by stating:

“There’s not many levels that you actually see that shift of help-for-help on defense. That was impressive.”

Del Mar Water Polo Club sees enormous potential in its athletes because all the boys’ teams — ranging from 10-and-under to 18 — finished in the top 10 of the 2021 Junior Olympics. They will begin training Aug. 23, 2021 for the 2022 USA Water Polo Junior Olympics.

The Del Mar Water Polo Club was founded in 2008 by Olympian Brett Ormsby to help water polo players throughout San Diego County acquire the necessary skills to be successful throughout their water polo careers and beyond.

More information can be found at delmarwaterpoloclub.org

— Report by Katie Anderson and Jack Webb, parent of Del Mar Water Polo Club athlete / SDSU Border Voices Project

Del Mar Water Polo Club’s 12 & under Boys A team members in the pool.
Del Mar Water Polo Club’s 12 & under Boys A team members in the pool.
(Kim Hawkins)


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