A League of Their Own: CWPA Part 1 of 3
Northern Lights: Collegiate Water Polo Association - Northern Division

Joan Gould
Water Polo Planet
Updated 02/01/2013

Water Polo Planet takes a closer look at some of the schools in each individual conference to help acquaint potential students and parents with these schools. This month the schools of the CWPA Northern Division are discussed.  We would like to present a less intimidating, brief overview of schools with water polo programs to help provide the basis for students to start looking at what is available.

Get the Skinney On the CWPA Northern Division - One of Many

The schools of the Collegiate Water Polo Association are, indeed, a league of their own in the water polo world. Comprised of 25 individual schools, spread from Boston in the north, south to Virginia and West to Indiana, the CWPA encompasses 25 very individual schools in a wildly diverse geographic and cultural area.

If an outstanding education and lifelong contacts are your goal, you need look no further than the educational powerhouses of the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Schools within the area are unquestionably top shelf, offering a full panoply of majors and programs to accommodate every taste and ambition. The financial and health care centers of Boston and New York are unrivaled in the world and CWPA schools as a whole, take internships very seriously, cultivating lifelong contacts and experience that benefit all students.

The CWPA also includes the Ivy League schools, Brown University, Harvard University and Princeton University who have different start dates for practice and competition under the Ivy League rules.

If serious, competitive water polo is your goal, or for those with national team stream aspirations, it is important to accept the fact that the structure and restrictions of the CWPA and its member schools may be limiting factors. There are few year round clubs in the CWPA sphere of influence and most institutions retain the same coach for Mens and Womens varsity o out of season training opportunities are limited (NCAA rules).

Facilities range from 25 yard, 6 lane shallow deep to 50 meter all deep facilities.

The league is divided into 3 regions, the Northern, Southern and Western Divisions which play in-season games within the Division (with the exception of invitationals) until the end of the season where regional championships produce the top 2 contenders (with 2 at large) who participate in the Eastern Championships. The divisions help to reduces traveling costs and time but can cause normal school rivalries to become magnified via overexposure. 

IConference issues aside, the CWPA schools offer many advantages to a college bound player including great opportunity for playing time, individual attention from good to great coaching staffs and the opportunity to compete while earning a top degree.

For the purpose of this article and brevity, I have separated the schools of the CWPA into divisions and this month will look at the CWPA Northern Division. Within each school, I have included the NCAA Division and the TYPE of indoor pool (shallow deep or all deep) to assist players in their choices.

Information Is the Right Tool for Choosing a School

Brown UniversityBrown University , Providence, Rhode Island

Mens and Womens D1 Varsity
Brand new All Deep 50 Meter Pool

Head Coach Men and Women: Felix Mercado

I had the opportunity to do graduate work at Brown and found both the school and the city simply fascinating. Brown is academia with attitude…there is nothing stodgy about Brown whose campus is next to that of the artists at Rhode Island School of Design. RISDI’s annual graduation looks more like the Rocky Horror Picture Show than an academic event and these avant gard artists have loosened up the Ivy in this very hip Ivy League school. Providence is a small and eclectic city comprised of ethnic neighborhoods offering arts, restaurants, music and entertainment, all on the mild weather shores of Narragansett Bay. Close to great beaches, a 1 hour train ride to Boston, 3 hours by Amtrak to New York City (although Providence has everything anyone would need), Brown has it all and more.

Approximately 5,900 students are enrolled in the Undergraduate College, 1,500 in the Graduate School and 340 in the Medical School. These students represent all 50 states and many foreign countries. For 2010, more than 18,000 applicants applied for 1,450 places in the freshman class. All undergraduates were admitted under a need-blind admission policy.
Brown’s three schools offer nearly 100 programs of study. The University adheres to a collaborative university-college model in which faculty are as committed to teaching as they are to research, embracing a curriculum that requires students to be architects of their education.
With 628 faculty members, the largest number in Brown’s history, the current student to faculty ratio stands at 9 to 1.

Connecticut CollegeConnecticut College, Mystic Connecticut

Mens and Womens Varsity
Division 3 All Deep Pool

Head Coach Men and Women: JJ Addison

Connecticut College is situated on one of the most beautiful pieces of property in Southern New England with a 750-acre hilltop campus with historic granite architecture and views of Long Island Sound and the Thames River.  Presiding over the Water Polo programs is JJ Addison, a laid back and enthusiastic coach who never fails to host a great event and regularly brings his own water polo prowess to the Northeast Zone Premier League.

Situated on the coast of southern New England, Connecticut College is one of the nation's leading private, coeducational liberal arts colleges. The academic community lives and learns on a 750-acre hilltop campus with historic granite architecture and views of Long Island Sound and the Thames River.

Since its founding in 1911, this small liberal arts college has offered a challenging academic curriculum that fosters a lifetime of learning and community involvement. Our alumni have earned distinction in virtually every field.  

The student body includes 1,900 men and women from 42 states, Washington D.C., and 41 countries. 40% of students are men, and 20% are students of color  (16% domestic).
The College offers more than 50 majors and more than 1,000 courses in 27 academic departments and interdisciplinary programs.  Top anticipated majors are Biology, English, Government, International Relations, and Psychology.
The student-faculty ratio is 10:1. The College has 162 full-time professors; 89 percent hold a doctorate or equivalent. All classes are taught by professors rather than the (now standard) graduate assistants who dominate undergraduate classes elsewhere..

Fordham UniversityFordham University Bronx, New York

Mens Vatrsity only
Division 1 All Deep

Head Coach: Bill Harris

One of the top universities in the Northeast, Fordham has been lately overlooked by the water polo community as overshadowed by its neighbors, St Francis and Queens. Heavily supported by its powerful alumni and close ties with the exclusive NewYork Athletic Club, Head Coach Bill Harris has set the foundation for a highly competitive program that is beginning to come into it’s own and I anticipate them bursting into the CWPA Northern Division with no-hold-barred dominance in 2007. Fordhams proximity to and good relationship with St Francis allows Fordham players multiple chances to play against some of the top Europeans in the US. 

15,253 students attend 11 schools, with 8,222 undergraduates and 7,031 graduate students. Approximately 4,157 live in University-managed housing, including 1,725 full-time freshmen
As home to people from all over the globe, as a center of international business, communication, diplomacy, the arts and the sciences, New York City provides Fordham with a special kind of classroom. Its unparalleled resources shape and enhance Fordham’s professional and undergraduate programs.

Fordham water polo and eight other Fordham University athletic teams were among more than 800 Division I squads to be publicly recognized by the NCAA for their latest Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores, posting multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports. The public recognition awards are part of the broad Division I academic reform effort.

Hartwick CollegeHarwick College Oneonta, New York

Women Only Varsity
Division 1 Shallow/Deep Pool

Head Coach: Alan Huckins

Hartwick's beautiful 425-acre campus is located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. The campus is literally built into the side of Oyaron Hill and has a breathtaking view of the Susquehanna River valley. The Pine Lake Environmental Campus is eight miles from the main campus. Oneonta has been ranked as a top ten college town in the nation.

Hartwick is a four-year, private, nondenominational, coeducational liberal arts and sciences college. Our expansive curriculum emphasizes connecting the classroom to the world. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and limitless study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. 

1,480 students come from 38 states and 19 countries; 44% male, 56% female; 11% ALANA (African-American, Latino, Asian-American, and Native American); 3%

The student-faculty ratio is 12-1, and the average class size is 18.

There's lots of food for thought: 31 majors leading to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. In addition, 10 special minors (minors also are available in almost every major); pre-professional programs in law, medicine, engineering, and allied health professions; and five cooperative programs in engineering, law, business, and physical and occupational therapy.

Hartwicks Womens Water Polo Program is historically the best or top two in the CWPA and under the tutelage of Head Coach Alan Huckins, is rapidly making its way up the Rankings ladder to compete on equal footing with many MPSF and WWPA teams. For a woman interested in joining one of the top growth programs in the United States and playing for a talented and effective coach, Hartwick is a must see.

Harvard UniversityHarvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts

Men and Womens Varisty (Ivy League)
Division 1 All Deep Pool

Head Coach Men and Women: Ted Minnis

Harvard requires little comment. It is quite simply the best known University in the World and for those who are seeking a top notch university, important future networking and international gravitas, look no further. As a native of Boston, I strongly recommend that parents of outstanding students take a weekend to travel to Harvard to view the tradition rich environment. The school simply has it all…The Hasty Pudding Club, Harvard CoOp and panoply of small esoteric restaurants abound.   Sundays has the length of the major traffic artery, Memorial Drive, closed to traffic allowing students to rollerblade, skateboard, bike and gives free and clear access to the Charles River with sailing, rowing, and other activities.

Located adjacent to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Haavad Squa), Harvard is the oldest University in the country with an unparalleled Business school, Medical school, Law school and equally impressive schools in Public Administration and Public Health , Dental, Divinity among a multitude of others.

Harvard University has the largest endowment of any University in the US, allowing the school to be 100% need blind. Students are admitted on the basis on academic and personal achievement and the school finds the means for them to attend.

Head Coach Ted Minnis manages to field a decent team which competes in the Eastern Championships each year and Harvard-Brown or Harvard-MIT games always provide a healthy rivalry with banners and chants that are top notch in creativity (although Brown generally wins in the creativity competition).

Anyone who has the chance to attend Harvard should take it. The educational experience and contacts will remain all your life and with a good water polo program, it has everything that a bright and talented student should ever need.

Iona CollegeIona College New Rochelle, New York

Men Only Women in MAAC Varisty
Division 1 Shallow/Deep

Head Coach Men and Women: Brian Kelly

Iona is a picturesque 35-acre campus, located only 30 minutes from Manhattan in suburban Westchester County, New York. Having launched one of the nation's first wireless Internet campuses in 2001, students continue to excel in an environment continually transforming to meet the needs of a changing world. This initiative, along with numerous achievements since that time, has led to Iona's inclusion in the Princeton Review's Best Northeastern Colleges and Best 237 Business Schools 2006 editions, and US News and World Report’s annual “America’s Best Colleges 2006.” The College opened two beautiful new residence halls in August 2003 to accommodate the growing number of enrolling students from around the country.

In recent years, Iona has hosted speeches by former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, former New York State governor Mario Cuomo, and, most recently, former presidential candidate and senator from New Jersey Bill Bradley. Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, said “I am delighted to now be a member of the Iona family. Iona is extraordinary and graduates leave the College with a superb education” to the audience upon receiving an honorary doctorate at the 2005 Commencement ceremony.

The Iona water polo program is headed by Coach Brian Kelly who is in his 15th year as head coach of the men's and women's water polo squads. The fourth coach in the history of the men's program and founder of the women's program, Kelly has guided his alma mater since 1995. Under Kelly, the men's squad had nationally ranked in four of the last six seasons. On the women's side, the Gaels have posted eight consecutive winning records, including 20 wins in 2002 and a MAAC Championships in 2004, 2011 and 2012.

MITMassachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts

Men Only
Division 3 All Deep

Coach: Open

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology stands alone as the top school for the Sciences and Engineering in the hemisphere, if not the world. Contrary to public opinion, students are NOT required to wear pocket protectors although I hear that wearing one gives you a slight grade advantage in Advanced Thermodynamics or Nuclear Physics.

MIT shares the same geography with Harvard, located in Cambridge on the banks of the Charles River but the environment in each school is so different, you think yourself to be in a different country.

Although technically a Division 3 school, MIT competes with the top D1 schools and has arguably some of the best pool facilities in the Northern Division with 2 all deep pools.

St Francis CollegeSt Francis College Brooklyn, New York

Men and Women (Women play in MAAC)
Division 1 Shallow/Deep

Head Coach: Igor Samardjia

Located in Brooklyn, New York, St Francis College mens team consistently fields some of the best water polo talent of any team in the country. St Francis’ mission is to provide a college education to first and second generation Americans, an endeavor that  Assistant Athletic Director Carl Quigley takes very seriously. The team roster roster resembles the UN rolls from Isralis to Serbs, Croats, Hungarians, Venezuelans and more that form a powerhouse of combined talent. For players with National Team or European professional team aspirations, St Francis is the one place in the East where you can improve your skills and learn from some of the best that Europe has to offer.

St. Francis College is a private, independent co-educational college that welcomes students from all walks of life, providing a superior liberal arts education at an affordable price. The St. Francis student benefits from small classes taught by professors who are committed to provide an education in an atmosphere of support and friendship.
Integrated learning at St Francis takes on an entirely new perspective in the form of their alumni who are employed by some of the top corporations in the world, headquartered in New York City. Students have the opportunity to combine classroom learning with hands on internships in the financial and corporate capital of the world.

At St. Francis College, a private college education is more affordable for motivated and deserving students, increasing their ability to graduate with little or no debt.  High-achieving high school seniors who show promise for academic success in college are eligible to receive scholarships that range from $1000 annually to the cost of full tuition (currently $14,020 per year). Over four years, qualified students can potentially receive scholarship support totaling more than $55,500.

St Francis offers 20 Division 1 sports all of which benefit from its talented, multi cultural student body. St Francis men’s water polo teams have dominated the CWPA and the women’s team is well on their way to being a top force in the new MAAC conference.

Utica CollegeUtica College Utica, New York

Women Only: MAAC Conference
Division 3 Narrow All Deep

Head Coach: Erin Knight

Located in the heart of Central New York, Utica College is a comprehensive, independent, private institution founded in 1946 by Syracuse University. UC is a comprehensive institution that offers the Syracuse University baccalaureate degree and the UC master's and doctoral degrees. Utica offers many of the advantages of a large university, undergraduate and graduate degree options,  excellent academic programs, outstanding faculty ...but with an intimacy and a high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private colleges.

Utica College offers a broad range of opportunities to grow personally and intellectually, helping students to build a strong foundation for success in your professional life.
Students at UC often develop strong relationships with faculty and fellow students, forging bonds of friendship and academic affinity that can last a lifetime. 

UC enrolls 2,429 full- and part-time undergraduate students, and 523 full- and part-time graduate students.

The College offers 13 Masters and 2 Doctoral degrees in Business Administration, Economic Crime Management Education, Liberal Studies, Occupational Therapy and physical therapy

Typical Class Size is 22 students with a Student-To-Faculty Ratio of 17:1

VMI Virginia Military Institute Lexington, Virginia

Division 1 Womens Program Only

Head Coach: Anna Phelps

Virginia Military Institute operates under the philosophy that the measure of a college lies in the quality and performance of its graduates and their contributions to society. 1600 Students, 14 majors offering 17 degrees and 23 minors.

It is the mission of the Virginia Military Institute to produce educated, honorable men and women, prepared for the varied work of civil life, imbued with love of learning, confident in the functions and attitudes of leadership, possessing a high sense of public service, advocates of the American democracy and free enterprise system, and ready as citizen-soldiers to defend their country in time of national peril.

The military system characterizes and distinguishes life at VMI.

It fosters punctuality, order, discipline, courtesy, and respect for authority. By placing all cadets on a uniform plane, it enables them to advance through self-reliance, initiative, and strength of character.

Cadets live within a military framework; they wear the cadet uniform, live in barracks, and eat their meals in a mess hall. The typical day is strictly regimented and requires close attention to detail to manage the available time to ensure necessary academic, military, and physical training requirements are properly completed.

There Will Be More to Explore

Each month, I will look at the schools in each conference and present a brief overview of each conference’ school. The next feature will be the schools of the CWPA: Western Division and I encourage each coach to submit an overview of their school to joan@waterpoloplanet.com