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Oeding Finds Calm Waters at Home More to His Liking

Times Staff Writer

Chris Oeding of Corona del Mar High School has not let a few bad experiences on the international water polo level affect his play.

In 7 games this season, Oeding has scored 21 goals, including 17 in last week’s South Coast water polo tournament won by the Sea Kings. He seems on a pace to be named to the All-Southern Section team for the second consecutive year as a senior. And a college scholarship awaits.

The game is more relaxed for Oeding compared to his summer adventure.

Oeding played for the U.S. Junior National water polo team at the World Championships qualifying tournament in Brazil. It was a positive experience for the most part, but not completely.

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“The people didn’t like us,” Oeding, The Times’ athlete of the week, said. “When we played Brazil and the other teams, the fans didn’t care for us. I don’t know why, I guess because we had won the tournament in Brazil the last time.”

And the fans took great delight when Brazil upset the United States, 7-6, in the semifinals.

“They scored the winning goal in the last 35 seconds and the place went nuts,” Oeding said.

Oeding’s memories are mixed when it comes to Brazil.

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On the positive side, the experience he gained has helped him as a player.

“Chris is a lot smarter this year because of playing on the international level,” John Vargas, Corona del Mar coach, said. “He has a better sense of the game. He knows to be patient if we’re up by a couple goals. He understands what we’re trying to accomplish.”

However, Oeding remembers the fight that caused the third-place match against Puerto Rico to be stopped with less than 2 minutes left.

“We were ahead 9-3 and they scored with a couple minutes left,” said Oeding. “The guy who scored claimed (goalie) Jim Wagner kicked him, so he came back and hit Wagner. Their bench jumped in (the pool), then our bench jumped in. Everybody started hitting and kicking. It was a little scary.”

It took more than 5 minutes to restore order. The game ended at that point and the United States was declared the winner, which put the team in the World Championship finals in France next summer.

“It was an intense trip,” Oeding said.

A negative experience?

“No, I plan to try out for the team again this year and go to France,” Oeding said.

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Chris Oeding

Corona del Mar High

Position: Wing/Hole

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Height, Weight, Class: 6-0, 155, Senior

Last Week: Oeding scored 17 goals as the Sea Kings won the South Coast tournament. Oeding had 4 goals to lead Corona del Mar to a 9-3 victory over Tustin in the championship match.

Season: Oeding has 21 goals for the Sea Kings.


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