USA Water Polo Announces Appointments To Racial Equity & Reform Task Force

Photo Courtesy: USA Water Polo

Brenda Villa and John Abdou, co-chairs of the USA Water Polo Racial Equity & Reform Task Force have announced nine appointments to join them in their efforts to expand access to water polo for all while ensuring zero tolerance of racism. Hailing from states across the country, with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, the nine appointees include: Olympic athletes, collegiate athletes, club athletes, coaches, referees, team administrators and parents.

Joining Villa and Abdou on the task force are: Ted Minnis (Collegiate Coach – Massachusetts), Felix Mercado (Collegiate Coach – Rhode Island), Chelsea Johnson (Club Coach – Florida), Clarke Weatherspoon (Club Coach – California), Angela Uno (Referee – Texas), Ivan Munoz (Club Administrator – Illinois), Mariko Rooks (Collegiate Athlete – Connecticut), Scott Newberger (Parent/Club Volunteer – Arizona) and Tumua Tavana (Anae) (Olympic Champion – Utah).

George Abele, attorney at Paul Hastings LLP and Mai Lam, USA Water Polo Executive Assistant will provide administrative support for the task force.

“As a coach, I love putting teams together and I am grateful for all the individuals that form this task force,” said task force co-chair and four-time Olympic medalist Brenda Villa. “Co-chair John Abdou and I felt it was important to have this task force not only represent people of color but feature water polo communities and roles from around the country. We are ready to get a game plan together and execute it to make our sport more inclusive.”

As announced last month, topics expected to be addressed by the task force recommendations are:

  • ZERO TOLERANCE: Ensure USAWP organizational processes at national, regional and club levels are free from racism and bias, and include meaningful remedies to safeguard accountability
  • ACCESS: Increase participation in water polo among communities of color, including partnerships with clubs and other relevant organizations that will expand access to water polo aquatics facilities
  • EDUCATION: Provide curriculum and other educational tools to promote a water polo community of respect, dignity, and fairness to all, especially people of color
  • RESOURCES: Expand resources for the promotion of tolerance and accessibility within the sport of water polo

More information regarding initiatives developed and actions recommended by the task force will be shared in the coming months. Please join us later today at 7pm et/4pm pt for a Facebook LIVE discussion about the task force appointments, next steps and more. Watch LIVE at

About USA Water Polo
USA Water Polo, Inc., is the national governing body for water polo in America, overseeing our United States Olympic program as well as 20 championship events annually, such as Junior Olympics and Masters National Championships. With more than 50,000 members, USAWP also is the sanctioning authority for more than 500 Member Clubs and more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport throughout the U.S. It fosters grass-roots expansion of the sport, providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches, and officials.    

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with USA Water Polo. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

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