Maddie Loggins and Kor Hurst both have the Olympics in their sights, and USA Water Polo’s National Training and Selection Camp, May 24-27 in Orange County, is a step in that direction.
The camp takes place at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita.
The 14-year-olds are eighth-graders at Hawkins School, and both play for the 680 Drivers Water Polo Association in San Ramon.
By the end of this weekend’s camp, USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development Program coaches will pick players for boys and girls teams in three age groups. They will then spend a year representing the U.S. in international competition.
Hurst went to the national camp last year. Though he didn’t make the national team, he learned that the game gets rougher as players advance toward international competition.
“They like to drown you, a lot,” he said. “You just have to be able to keep up with them, and that can be kind of hard.”
He kept up well enough at the recent Olympic Development Program Pacific Coast championships, March 1-3 in San Diego and La Jolla, where he was noticed by USA Water Polo’s national coaches.
Hurst competed in a 17-team, eighth-grade boys bracket and was one of 10 boys at the Pacific tournament selected for the national camp this weekend.
He will be among 76 boys from around the U.S. competing for 28 spots on USA Water Polo’s boys cadet team.
Hurst said he is ready to learn the skills that will make him a better player.
“What they teach at the camp is what the U.S. national team uses,” he said. “You keep using what they teach you at the camp, you can get farther and farther.”
Loggins said she grows more passionate about the game with every step she takes toward international water polo competition. She also went to the camp last year.
“Once I got going and got serious about it, it’s always been in the back of my mind that I want to be on an Olympic team,” she said.
The Pacific girls tournament was March 8-10 in Clovis and Fresno. Loggins competed among 10th-grade girls in a 14-team bracket and finished as one of 50 girls from around the country selected for the national camp.
She moved up a division at the insistence of her coach, Todd Halvorson, who thought Loggins and other girls on the 680 team had progressed as much as they could at the eighth-grade level.
“When Maddie gets in the water, she’s a fierce competitor, but she’s also a team player,” Halvorson said. “She takes on that responsibility and is one of our leaders.”
Loggins said she quickly adapted to the higher age group.
“The level of play definitely increased,” Loggins said. “You’re going to get knocked down multiple times. You just have to learn to get back up and keep fighting.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.