Read about the experiences of Tommy Patten, Morio Saito and the Del Mar Water Polo Club. Tommy and Morio are two young water polo players who have both attended individual AWP training trips abroad, and the Del Mar Club participated in a team trip.
Morio Saito, a 15-year-old from Los Angeles, CA, has been playing water polo since he was six years old. He currently attends Harvard Westlake High School where he plays on the Varsity team. Morio took an individual AWP 10-day trip to Kotor last year and was accompanied by his Mom, Erika.
While I was there I was able to perfect certain aspects of my game such as being hyper-aware of the things that are happening around me. I was also able to take in all of the incredible styles of shots and fakes that these amazing shooters had, and then incorporate these things into my own tactics.
The Del Mar Water Polo Club, headed by President Brett Ormsby, is based out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. Brett brought his team over to Kotor, Montenegro to participate in a two-week summer AWP team training trip.
All trainings were in a course set up in the bay. Mata ran the trainings, which were mostly scrimmaging. It was very top-level training, and I felt that one training session in Kotor was worth a full week of training sessions back home in the US. It was that valuable, and you could not recreate it at home.
Tommy Patten, a 21 year old from Irvine, CA, attended Mater Dei High School and played for their club team, Regency. He currently plays polo at orange Coast College and plans on transferring to a Division 1 school this year to continue his career. He has traveled to Kotor, Montenegro on three separate AWP individual water polo training trips and plans to return to Europe again soon.
The main thing was the quality of water polo in Montenegro compared to American water polo. Water polo in Montenegro is like football in America-almost everyone has played it and knows everything about the game. I learned that as a child living in Montenegro, you can either play water polo or soccer. Most children choose water polo and start playing at the age of 5. Every player in Kotor practices at the same pool, even if they’re a paid professional. So this allows children to have the chance to practice with some of the best players in the world and grow up learning from them—and this gets passed on from generation to generation. Also, I knew that Europeans were the best at water polo so I wanted to actually train with some of the top players in the world and become a better player from that experience.