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Torrey Pines High School Men's Water Polo Logo

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Frequently Asked Questions 

What is water polo?

Definition - "WATER POLO: a sport combining basketball, rugby, swimming and wrestling...with some of the best conditioned athletes in the world." Water polo is played with a yellow volleyball-like ball in a pool with six players and a goalie on each team. The object is to put the ball into the opponent's net, similar to soccer or basketball.

Water polo is very demanding. During a match, players tread water or swim the entire game and cannot touch the bottom or sides of the pool. Only the goalie may handle the ball with two hands. Players use an "eggbeater" kick--a circular kicking stroke -- when treading water. Play consists of four seven-minute quarters, with two-minute breaks between quarters. There is no elongated halftime

Play starts each quarter with a sprint. Each team lines up along its own end line, and at the referee's whistle, each team sprints for mid-pool, where the ball is floating. The clock stops for fouls and after a goal is scored. A goal is scored when the entire ball crosses the goal line between the posts and under the crossbar. Any part of the body, except a fist, may be used to knock the ball into the goal. (The ball cannot be "punched" into the goal with a fist.)

Upon taking control of the ball, the offensive team has 30 seconds to shoot for a goal or it loses possession. A shot clock at each end of the pool helps players keep track of time. If the 30 seconds expires, the ball changes possession. Water polo is very physically demanding.


Who should go out for the water polo team?

Anyone interested in being an athlete at Torrey Pines High School should go out for the water polo team. Most players have little or no water polo experience when they start. Experience in swimming (you'll do a lot of this), basketball, and/or baseball are good because water polo requires passing and catching a ball while swimming or treading water. Water polo is a team sport, so any experience playing on a team is an asset. Surfing, body boarding and body surfing help because you're comfortable in the water. If you're not a strong swimmer, you can still go out for this team. Several players on the team started out with very little swimming experience and they ended up being valuable members of the team. Come check it out, it's a very fun sport and a great way to get connected at Torrey Pines.


How do I go out for the water polo team?

If you decide to go out for the team, contact the TPHS Athletic department and ask for an "Athletic Packet" You must complete all of the forms in this packet and turn them back into the athletic department in order to try out for the team. One of the forms requires a doctor's exam, and if you are a freshman, another asks for a copy of your grades from your previous school. If it is your first year of play at TPHS, you qualify to be on the novice team -- even if you are not a freshman. There are no cuts from the novice team, so come try out.


How long is the boys high school water polo season? On average, how many games does the team play in one week?

For the 2012 fall season, tryouts will begin on Wednesday, August 15th at the UCSD Canyonview Pool. Regular practice begins on Monday, August 27th at UCSD. For JV and Novice players, the season ends on Saturday, November 3rd. For Varsity players, the season lasts until the conclusion of the CIF San Diego Playoffs in mid-November. Rougly, the season is about 3 months and there are about 20 games for JV and Novice and 30 games for varsity(they play in more tournaments and compete in the CIF playoffs). So in a typical week, the team plays in 1 or 2 games, maybe 3 during the busy month of October. Refer to the Google Team Calendar or Tentative Game Schedule to see the general outlook for the season. These are subject to change and may not be constantly updated during the season, so check any emails from Coach Tim as they have the most current news and announcements. 


How do players manage schoolwork with the water polo schedule?

The Boy's Varsity Water Polo Team has the highest GPA of any sports program at Torrey Pines. (GPA's of sports programs are tracked in the Athletic Office.) One thing that contributes to their outstanding academic record is the self-discipline that results from the water polo practice schedule. The boys practice at the UCSD Canyonview Pool, from 7:00 to 9:30 pm at night on Mondays-Thursdays and 5-7 PM on Friday. One player said, "Practicing later in the evening means I have to get my homework done early, before practice. I like this schedule because I'm fresh when I'm doing homework, and after practice-when I'm tired-I go to bed." Being on the Torrey Pines Water Polo Team trains players to organize their time and get their schoolwork done first. Many of last year's water polo varsity team players went to outstanding colleges including; MIT, UCSD, and Stanford.


Can I get Physical Education Credit for being on the TPHS water polo team?

Yes, you can earn 5 PE Credits per season by taking Athletic PE, but only if you are in Grades 10-12. (You have to pass the CA Fitness Test as a freshman before becoming eligible) Fill out an Athletic PE Form and turn it in with your athletic packet to the TPHS Athletic Secretary. You can take Athletic PE as a free class period(ex. unscheduled 6th period) or take it with the regular 6 class schedule load(your schedule will say period 8 for Athletic/PE). 


Do players carpool to practice and events?

Yes, carpooling is available and it definitely makes for a better experience. For players that don't drive, parents usually end up driving about once a week if they are in a carpool. A roster of team members with addresses and phone numbers is handed out at the beginning of the season. Look for a team member in your area for carpooling. A bus takes the team from school to away games on weekdays. Home games(at UCSD) and weekend tournaments require your own transportation.


What's the coaching staff like?

The Torrey Pines water polo program is lucky to have excellent coaches. In the words of a varsity player, "Not only do our coaches know a lot about the game of water polo, but they're also very cool guys to hang out with." A parent said, "These guys do a great job coaching the boys…and they set a good example because the three of them get along so well." Talk to anyone on the team or to any of the parents--everyone is thrilled with the water polo coaching staff. Go to the coaches page to see pictures and learn more about each coach.


Where does the water polo team practice?

The TPHS Boy's team practices at the UCSD Canyonview Pool. Directions to the UCSD pool are:

5 South, exiting on Genessee
Left over bridge
Right on Campus Point Drive
Right on Voight
Drive until you see the pool on right hand side.

More information about the Canyonview Pool can be found here.

Do I need to pay for parking at UCSD?

Yes!  There is a parking lot just east of the UCSD Canyonview pool, with a kiosk at the entrance that sells the passes.  Passes are about $2 for the first hour, and about $1 per hour thereafter.  The kiosk accepts ATM cards or cash, but doesn’t give change.  The lot is patrolled until 11 p.m., and you will get a ticket at some point if you try to “stretch your luck.”  There are meters at the south lot beyond the pool on Voight, but they are usually full.   If you are sitting in your car in the parking lot waiting for your son to come out from practice, you don’t need a pass.  Obviously if the parking attendant comes and tries to ticket you, you would be able to explain your situation.


You may also buy Evening & Weekend Quarterly Season passes for UCSD.  One price, park as much as you’d like during our games & practices.  The passes are on sale at the Gilman Parking facility on campus.  As you approach the pool on the Campus Loop drive, turn left at that stop sign onto Gilman drive which is just east of the pool rather than proceeding straight.  The Gilman Parking Facility is on that road, after passing a residence hall complex, on the right.  The phone number to the Parking Office is (858) 534 - 4223.  Only registered UCSD students can purchase passes online.  For a “Nights and Weekends, Quarter” pass, the cost is $43.  Each pass is good for 1 UCSD Quarter.   If your son is driving himself and parking every night, that is the best way to go.  Of course, buying that pass one time means you may attend as many games as you like and never pay again.  Sometimes that convenience is worth the cost.  It’s good after 4:30 in the afternoon and on weekends.  If you chose to attend a UCSD game or a college level weekend tournament, the pass works then as well.  The pass is a laminated card that may be moved between cars, and is not a sticker. 

Click here for a map of the parking lots near the pool.

Click here for the official UCSD Visitor Parking website.


What kind of injuries do water polo players get?

Injuries are not a big problem in water polo. This is probably because water slows down the speed of contact between players. Although players wrestle each other under the water out of the view of the referee, it's rare to see a serious injury because the water acts as a buffer. The most common injury is a scratch from another player's fingernails. Players are required to show their fingernails to the referee before each game. Fingernails must be cut very short to be eligible to play. Bloody noses, fat lips and sprained thumbs occur infrequently.


How do I become a parent or student volunteer?

The team needs volunteers--from people who record game statistics to people who help with the rummage sale, the awards banquet and more. For a complete list of current volunteers, go to the Volunteers section. To find out how you can help, or to volunteer for a specific job, go to the Contact Us area of this website and send an email, or go to the volunteers section to find names and phone numbers and give us a call.


Where are the pools where games are played?

The games are played at several different pools in North County. Go to Pool Directions to see how to get there.