While Florida high school water polo will begin its season in a couple weeks the girls of Lake Nona High School spent the past weekend touring San Francisco, sampling In-n-Out, and competing against teams from California and Canada. On Saturday TWp caught Orlando United, as the USAWP club is called, matched against East Bay powerhouse Diablo Water Polo (coached by the legendary Maureen O’Toole). The Floridians acquitted themselves well, losing in the end but behind by only one goal at halftime.
The winter tournament, hosted at Los Altos High School by Santa Clara Valley Water Polo, also included Team Sask from Canada and local teams from Santa Cruz and Atherton.
Coach Alex Bennett plans to make the California training trip as regularly as feasible. Los Altos is a natural destination for him owing to his long friendship with tournament host and coach Johnny Bega, who owns Santa Clara Valley WP and heads the boys’ team at Los Altos High School.
Lake Nona one of the favorites to win the state championship this spring along with Ransom Everglades, Gulliver Prep, and Winter Park. That is a unique position for a team that was founded only four years ago. They have benefitted both from Bennett’s high expectations and a unique bond among teammates who have held together ever since their freshmen campaign. The trip to California is one Bennett hopes will sharpen the skills of this highly experienced team this spring.
“We will get more, better games at this tournament than we can get in Florida. We’re here to get experience against some very good teams. But also we’re here to bond.”
Lake Nona and the rest of Florida prep water polo officially began practice last Monday and will end the season at Ransom Everglades in Miami April 26th and 27th.