Water Polo program returns after 14 years

By Diego Linares and Tadzio Garcia


The East Los Angeles College swimming pool, said to be one of the fastest swim pool in the nation, will add yet more events next year. It will be home to the newly formed ELAC women’s water polo team.

Water polo competition returns to ELAC after 14 years. The 1998-1999 season was the last year the ELAC pool hosted water polo events.

“You can’t have a successful swim team without a water polo team. Water polo will aid in community support across the board and we have a great coach. This is the best thing to happen here in a long time,” Eldin Onsgard, physical education teacher at ELAC for 13 years, 33 years in the LACCD, said.

Head swim and dive coach Erik Matheson, who coached water polo at Santa Monica College from 1993-2011, was told about coaching a water polo team when he was hired to coach at ELAC. After his second season coaching the swim and dive team, he will get his chance when classes begin in the fall.

Four freshmen from the swim team confirmed that they will  join the water polo team, Veronica Orantes, Denise Burrola, Kimberly Morales and Jacqueline Leal. They are eligible to compete for both ELAC aquatic teams. Water polo competition is during the fall semester while the swim and dive season is during spring semester.

Matheson is looking to fill the position of assistant coach for the water polo team. Matheson wants someone who will be hands-on in teaching recruits and walk-ons the mechanics of the game while developing their skills.

He assures that passion and dedication shall be expressed when the time comes and the new team takes to the pool.

With winning and losing not a concern in their first season, Matheson will look for his athletes to enjoy their first season as they will be part of something bigger.

ELAC will play in the South Coast Conference with swim and dive rivals Cerritos, Chaffey, El Camino, L.A. Trade Tech, Long Beach City, Mt. San Antonio, Pasadena City and Rio Hondo colleges.

The SCC fairs well in women’s water polo state finals, as follows:

2012 – Cerritos took fourth place

2011 – Long Beach third, Cerritos fourth

2010 and 2010 – Long Beach was runner-up

2008 – Cerritos won the state title over Long Beach

2007 – Long Beach took third place

2006, 2004, 2003 – Long Beach won state titles

2002 – Long Beach was runner up

2001 – Long Beach beat Mt. SAC for fifth place

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