Azevedo is regarded as one of the most dynamic water polo coaches in the history of the sport. In a career spanning four decades, he has coached water polo at the high school, college, and Olympic levels in at least eight countries. Born in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Azevedo competed for the Brazilian National Water Polo team from 1973-1981. In 1974 he moved to the USA, where he became an All-American water polo player for Long Beach State University.
Azevedo began his water polo coaching career at Wilson High School in Long Beach California where, as head coach, he led teams to five finals and four Championships. Following this success, he coached at Long Beach State University, heading both the men’s and women’s water polo programs. From 1996-2004 Azevedo worked with water polo legend Ratko Rudic to coach the USA Men’s Water Polo Team (he served as head coach of Team USA from 2005-2007).
Azevedo then moved to Italy where he became the first-ever American citizen to coach a professional European water polo team (Rari Nantes Camogli). Over the past five years he has coached both the men’s and women’s Chinese Olympic teams, substantially improving their level of play and fitness.
In addition to these professional commitments, Azevedo unofficially coached and mentored his son Tony and daughter Cassandra – both of whom played professional water polo. Tony became a 5-time Olympian and one of the best water polo players of the century.
This year, Rick Azevedo has returned to Long Beach to serve as Azevedo Water Polo’s Coaching Consultant. In line with the Foundation’s goals, he is determined to grow the sport of water polo outside the state of California.
His services include:
1. Water polo program development/mentoring for coaches:
Rick works directly with water polo coaches to develop both short and long-term coaching plans. All team workouts – both on land and in the water – are carefully written at least 21 days in advance. Rick further helps coaches learn exactly when and how to modify these plans in order to maximize team fitness and ability.
2. Water polo technique development and training for players:
Rick works directly with water polo players to improve shooting skills, arm speed, strength and beyond. While Rick trains players in person, he can also provide feedback via video analysis.
Rick has water polo connections that span the globe. He subsequently matches both players and coaches with overseas teams and training programs. These overseas experiences foster both physical and mental growth in participants. Trips can be tailored to range from a week to several months.