While the U.S. Olympic water polo team waits for its first match of the Barcelona Games on Saturday, possible future Olympians are getting their feet wet in the Harvard Water Polo Foundation International Cup at Harvard-Westlake High.
About 320 players from the United States, Canada and Germany are participating in the three-day tournament for players age 18 and under. The teams began pool play Friday and the final will be held today.
Five players from the Harvard Water Polo Foundation senior team--Terry Schroeder, Craig Wilson, Kirk Everist, Alex Rousseau and Chris Duplante--are with the U.S. Olympic team. Closer to home, members of Harvard's 18-and-under team were trying to make a name for themselves, winning a pair of matches.
Saturday, the Harvard A team gained a berth in the final despite being outscored in its semifinal. Tiger of South Pasadena was leading, 13-12, with 2 minutes 44 seconds to play when it was forced to forfeit after being called for unnecessary roughness.
In the final, Harvard will play Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 from Berlin, which advanced with a 13-12 win over Rose Bowl, another Pasadena team.
Harvard A is led by Jim Toring, who will be a senior at Harvard this fall. Toring is a three-time high school All-American and a three-time All-Southern Section 3-A Division selection.
Harvard A, with the same players that led Harvard High to the 3-A title last season, whipped its three pool-play opponents, beating Crespi, 23-5, La Serna, 16-10, and Hawaii, 17-11, to reach the semifinals.
The La Serna team was made up largely of players from La Serna High's 3-A runner-up team. San Clemente, the reigning 4-A champion, was another tournament entry with a successful track record at the high school level.
Wasserfreunde Spandau 04, like the Harvard team, is the 18-and-under counterpart to a senior club team that sent several players to the Olympics. Wasserfreunde Spandau 04's senior team has won the past 14 German national championships and is represented by seven players in Barcelona.
The 18-and-under team, led by goalkeeper Bjorn Gentz, has been working out with the Harvard club in two-a-day practices since July 21.
"They are very disciplined," Harvard Coach Rich Corso said. "Their tactics are different than what you see in the United States and they are able to do a lot of things."