U.S. Water Polo Elects New Leaders

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., Jan. 13. THE U.S. Water Polo executive board elections ended in something of a coup on Friday (Jan. 12), with four new officers being elected for the next quadrennium.

The elections, which took place as part of U.S. Water Polo’s annual convention, resulted in a diverse group of water polo devotees being put in place to direct water polo for the next four years.

In the presidential election, former USWP president Rich Foster succeeded incumbent Bret Bernard. The race was a reckoning of sorts for Foster, who was defeated in a close race with Bernard in 1996, effectively ending a six-year stint as president. Foster feels that he has some unfinished business.

"When I left in 1996, there was still much to be done," he said. "Now that I’m back in the saddle, I look forward to getting back to the business of
water polo and looking after the organization’s best interests."

Among Foster’s plans for his term is the central-ization of the National Team staff. Currently, the U.S. Water Polo staff is spread out across the country, with the national office being located in Colorado Springs. Foster will be working on acquiring a grant to build offices at the U.S. Water Polo
National Aquatic Center on the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

"I think it’s important to have everyone working under the same roof," he said. "It only makes sense to have our staff and our national team working in the same place. It will definitely be a challenge, but they also said that we couldn’t get the pool (at the National Aquatic Center) to where it is today."

In other elections, Dr. Tere Ma defeated Liz Grimes for the vice-presidential seat. Dr. Ma has been extensively involved in USWP for years at many levels, and currently serves as the programmer for the newly
renovated website.

"Now we have four new officers from four different zones," said Ma. "That demonstrates our commitment to having a sport with national cooperation and national commitment."

Carey Heckman and Jim Linehan went uncontested into the offices of treasurer and secretary, respectively. Both men are eager to get to work. "Our biggest fiscal challenge is that we have to have resources to use, and when we do, to spend them as efficiently as possible," said Heckman. "We have tremendous opportunities and hard decisions ahead of us. Regardless, I’m looking forward to the challenge."

New secretary Linehan, who has never played, coached, or refereed water polo, is ready to roll up his sleeves and get busy with the business of the organization. "The most important issue for U.S. Water Polo is that if we want to compete inter-nationally, we need to start acting and working like more of a business," he said. "And my background in business will allow me to help us to that end."

With the election out of the way, the road is paved for USWP’s next big announcement. This Sunday (Jan. 14), following the annual awards luncheon, the national team head coaches will be named. This will mark the first time that U.S. Water Polo has had the benefit of having full-time head coaches that can also oversee the development of water polo at the grassroots level. The announcement will be handed down at approximately 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The U.S. Water Polo Annual Convention runs through Monday afternoon at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos.

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