Following the significant growth of high school water polo nationwide, a number of new collegiate programs have been introduced in the last couple of years, with Westcliff University’s being the newest on the list.
The Warriors’ Athletic Department officially announced the addition of both men’s and women’s water polo programs in the Spring of 2020 with a plan to start competition in the 2020-21 season. Located in Irvine, Calif. Westcliff is surrounded by many powerhouse water polo programs all the way from the club to the collegiate level. Newly hired head coach of the women’s water polo team, Raney Remme hopes that the Warriors will make an immediate impact and rise to the area’s standards.
Coach Remme is an alumni of Long Beach State University, and also spent a year playing professionally in Australia. Her playing career is undeniably impressive thus she has high expectations for her new team and herself as a coach as well. “My vision for us is to come out and shock some people,” said Remme. “I definitely want to win a lot of one goal games. I want my team to be known for being tough in those rough moments when the game is on the line,” she continued.
Despite being a young coach, Remme tackles challenges with confidence and is ready to face the task of recruiting for a brand-new program. “You have to do your best to create that vision for them [recruits] and say that obviously the first year we’re going to have to work really hard and it’s going to take some time for us to get there. But at the end of the day, I think that we could, and it really just depends on their mentality going into it,” stated Remme.
The assistance of the athletic department has a key role in the success of any teams. Remme has been lucky to have outstanding support from both athletic administration, and fellow coaches at Westcliff. “The other coaches are just incredible. I’m so grateful for all of those programs; I can reach out to the other coaches because they’ve been there a little bit longer than I have. It is really just kind of a collaboration in terms of coaches helping each other out, bouncing ideas off of each other.”
Difficult enough on its own to start a brand-new program, the coaches also had to face the hardships caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Trying to recruit while not being able to go out and watch club tournaments and high school season, it would have been extremely hard to fill the team on time,” said Coach Remme. Then she admits “ It [pandemic] has been kind of a blessing in disguise to have the season pushed back an entire year and have so much time to make sure that we get things set up the way that we want them.”
No doubt it has been a unique year for the world of collegiate athletics. But once things return to normal and the waters start splashing in the pools with the sound of whistles filling the air at the aquatic centers, we are excited to see those surprises the Warriors have in store for us.