The Del Mar Water Polo Club, headed by President Brett Ormsby, is based out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. Brett directly coaches the 16U and 18U boys, and oversees all other programs within the club.
The Del Mar Club took a two week AWP team training trip to Kotor, Montenegro.
1) Why did you decide to take your team to train in Europe?
I took the team to train in Europe because that is where the best water polo in the world is being played and where all of the current trends in the game come from. I felt my kids would get the best competition from playing in Europe, and have the opportunity to not just experience a different style of play, but also a different way of life. Obviously, I was fortunate enough to experience playing in Europe from 2001-2004 as Tony’s teammate on the National team (we traveled there a lot with Ratko as the coach). I learned so much from those opportunities that I wanted to be able to share those experiences with my kids.
2) Why did you choose Montenegro?
Primarily because that was where Tony was playing at the time. He had set up our previous trip to Dubrovnik (back when he was playing for JUG the first time) and it was an amazing experience, so we figured we would follow him to Montenegro next. In addition, a good friend of mine from college, Krsto Sbutega, spends every summer with his family in Kotor, and vouched for the fact that it was a place we needed to go to.
3) What did you think of Montenegro as a country? How did your players react when they arrived there?
I loved it!!! I think the players were a little blown away by the landscape at first. It is certainly a beautiful place. The flat bay of Kotor just goes straight into steep mountains with just a sparse number of houses and shops in the small flat area before the mountains start rising from the bay. Secondly, the kids were excited to see that there were water polo goals just floating every half-mile or so in the bay, and that people were shooting on them just as we would see people shooting on basketball hoops or playing pick-up basketball on an outdoor court in the United States. That was an eye-opener for them in a very, very good way. It showed them that there are parts of the world where people really care about water polo in the same way that people here in the US care about basketball and football.
4) What kinds of trainings and practices did you have organized? What teams did you train with?
We trained twice a day for an hour and a half each time with Primorac Kotor’s younger age groups. 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.
5) Did you feel the trip was beneficial for your team? What were some of the top positive aspects of your stay in Montenegro?
Absolutely. Obviously, the water polo was great, but one of the main positive aspects for me was introducing the kids to a different culture. Far too many kids in Southern California are isolated in their experiences and narrow in the worldview. So, I think this was a great opportunity for the kids to see a place that was beautiful but very different socio-economically from Southern California.
6) Do you think the level of your player’s water polo improved during your trip (or as a result of your trip)?
Absolutely. The kids gained a lot of confidence throughout the trip in realizing that they could compete against some of the best players in a water polo crazy country like Montenegro. In addition, they learned a lot of little tricks about the way the game is played internationally that they were able to bring home.
7) Would you take a trip like this again? Would you change anything?
Yes we would definitely do a trip like this again. The only things I would change would be on my end. I felt the trip was set up and ran perfectly by Tony and Mata, and whoever else was there to help them on their end.