What is water polo?
Water polo is a team game consisting of two opposing teams trying to put the ball in the opponent’s net. Each match has four quarters lasting 7 minutes each for high school Varsity (6 for JV, 5 for Novice), with a 2 minute break in between each quarter. Since the game clock is stopped after fouls and goals, an average quarter really lasts around 11 minutes.
Each team has six field players and one goalkeeper. Water polo players need to be able to swim in a pool without goggles and to throw a ball while treading water. They also need good reflexes and awareness.
Players may not stand on the bottom of the pool and must be able to tread water using an eggbeater kick. Field players can only use one hand to handle the ball, and goalies are the only players that can use both hands.
Upon taking control of the ball, the offensive team has 30 seconds to shoot for a goal or it loses possession. A shot clock at each end of the pool helps players keep track of time. If the 30 seconds expires, the ball changes possession. Water polo is very physically demanding. Click here to view the rules of the game.
Who should try out for the water polo team?
Anyone interested in being an athlete at Torrey Pines High School should try out for the water polo team. Most players have little or no water polo experience when they start. Experience in swimming (you'll do a lot of this), basketball, and/or baseball are good because water polo requires passing and catching a ball while swimming or treading water. Water polo is a team sport, so any experience playing on a team is an asset. Surfing, body boarding and body surfing help because you're comfortable in the water. If you're not a strong swimmer, you can still go out for this team. Several players on the team started out with very little swimming experience and they ended up being valuable members of the team. Come check it out, it's a very fun sport and a great way to get connected at Torrey Pines.
How do I join the water polo team?
If you decide to try out for the team, download and print an "Athletic Packet". You must complete all of the forms in this packet and turn them back into the athletic department in order to try out for the team. One of the forms requires a doctor's physical and another requires that you maintain a 2.0 GPA. If it is your first year of play at TPHS, you qualify to be on the novice team -- even if you are not a freshman. There are no cuts from the novice team, so come try out. Even if the season has already started, you can still join as long as you turn in your paperwork and receive clearance from the Athletics Office.
I transferred to TPHS this year. Can I still join the team?
Of course you can! However, you will have to contact the Torrey Pines Athletics Office to check if you need to go through the CIF Transfer Eligibility process. Basically, if you are not an incoming freshman, you will have to fill out some paperwork in order to be cleared by the CIF governing body. The coaches and athletic directors will aid you through this process.
What is a typical week like for the season?
The season starts early August and ends in mid-November with the CIF Playoffs for the varsity squad. The JV and Novice teams end their season around the first week of November. On a regular week, there is one scheduled game (league or non-league) on a week night, and every 3 weeks or so, there is a tournament, with final games played on Saturday. So on average, there are about 2 games per week. A bus is only provided for transportation to away games on school days. Allother circumstances require your own transportation.
*You cannot drop off at the curb near the pool. You must drop off in the closest parking lot with the kiosk.
Do I need to pay for parking at UCSD?
Yes. There is a parking lot near the pool before the bus stop, with a kiosk at the entrance that sells the passes for parking in designated spaces. The kiosk accepts credit cards or cash, but doesn’t give change. The lot is patrolled and you will get a ticket at some point if you try to “stretch your luck.” If you are sitting in your car in the parking lot waiting for your son to come out from practice, you likely don’t need a pass.
You may also buy a Night/Weekend Quarterly Permit from the UCSD Parking Office. These permits can be purchased at the Gilman Parking Structure, 2nd level on Russell Lane. Check out the “Nights and Weekends Quarter” pass, good for 1 UCSD Quarter. Unfortunately, you will have to buy both a Summer and a Fall pass, because our high school season overlaps with UCSD's Summer and Fall quarters. Still, if your son is driving himself and parking every night, that may be the best way to go.
How do players manage schoolwork with the water polo schedule? Is there any way to make the process easier?
The Boys Varsity Water Polo Team has the highest GPA of any sports program at Torrey Pines. (GPA's of sports programs are tracked in the Athletic Office.) One thing that contributes to their outstanding academic record is the self-discipline that results from the water polo practice schedule. One player said, "Practicing later in the evening means I have to get my homework done early, before practice. I like this schedule because I'm fresh when I'm doing homework, and after practice-when I'm tired-I go to bed." TPHS water polo players organize their time and get their schoolwork done first.
Yes, you can earn 5 PE Credits per season by taking Athletic PE and not have to take another PE class on campus, but only if you are in Grades 10-12. Fill out an Athletic PE form (available on the TPHS Website, Athletics page) and turn it in to the TPHS Athletic Secretary by the posted due date.
What's the coaching staff like?
The Torrey Pines water polo program is lucky to have excellent coaches. In the words of a varsity player, "Not only do our coaches know a lot about the game of water polo, but they're also very cool guys to hang out with." A parent said, "These guys do a great job coaching the boys…and they set a good example because the three of them get along so well." Talk to anyone on the team or to any of the parents--everyone is thrilled with the water polo coaching staff. Go to the coaches page to see pictures and learn more about each coach.
What kind of injuries do water polo players get?
Injuries are not a big problem in water polo. This is probably because water slows down the speed of contact between players. Although players wrestle each other under the water out of the view of the referee, it's rare to see a serious injury because the water acts as a buffer. The most common injury is a scratch from another player's fingernails. Players are required to show their fingernails to the referee before each game. Fingernails must be cut very short to be eligible to play. Bloody noses, fat lips and sprained thumbs occur infrequently.
How do I become a parent or student
The team needs volunteers—from people who run the shot clocks for the games to people who help with the Falcon Card fundraiser, the awards banquet and more. To find out how you can help, or to volunteer for a specific job, please contact Head Coach Jay Shafer at firstname.lastname@example.org.