The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Water polo grows through Olympic Development program

Sophomore Ethan Wang and Junior George Hoverman celebrate after a tight race.

Young athletes around the world dream of having the incredibly rare opportunity to don their nation’s colors and compete in global competitions. But for some Lions, this goal has already become a reality through the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program (ODP).

The ODP consists of the whole scouting system  where coaches decide who is selected to play on various state, regional and national teams as well as who competes in yearly international tournaments. The ODP offers events to a wide range of ages and also provides players with a platform to showcase their talents to colleges.

“Besides playing in club tournaments, the ODP is the other big thing that provides exposure as a water polo player,” sophomore and ODP participant Andrew Zhang said. 

The ODP has become increasingly popular around the nation – in Dallas, many club coaches are involved with the program. Because of this, almost every water polo player on campus has participated in the ODP to some level.

“It’s completely different from school water polo because it’s basically like a bunch of super teams,” Zhang said. “We have all the best players in Texas on one team, and we’re playing against all the other best players on the other teams.”

The whole feel of the ODP differs greatly from that of school leagues, not only because of the sheer talent of the players, but also because of the spotlight the ODP provides. “There’s always coaches watching. There’s college scouts everywhere writing down notes. Everyone’s filming everything,” Zhang said. “I think it’s fun because usually water polo doesn’t get that kind of coverage, but with the development program, there’s fans watching and the stakes are a lot higher, so it’s definitely a fun experience.”

This setting forces players to learn how to perform to their best abilities despite the added pressure of constant evaluation. 

“There’s definitely some stress to it, but I think it’s valuable for us to have to deal with those nerves,” Zhang said.  

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Weston Chance, Staff Writer