Torchbearer wrote:...I do know that despite the pool situation and whatever role this might play, there are Many swift swimmers and Many good divers from outside California who represent the U.S. internationally each year, while almost all of our top water poloists hail from Cali. Why is this? and how can our National JO Program play a role in alleviating the current situation so young athletes from Ohio, Indiana, the Carolinas and Nebraska have a chance at reaching the top in water polo?
Swimmers and divers are competing against the clock or total score, and advance on an individual basis. I suppose they don't even have to have another competitor present to make their time or score.
The combination of low pool availability and relatively low interest in water polo in parts of the country mean they will have a tough time putting together full teams to compete against each other. This must make it difficult to generate enough interest to finance the travel necessary for a team to advance to attend JO's - therefore making it difficult for a few elite athletes to be recognized and offered advancement in the National system.
It's not up to JO's to alleviate this situation, but up to the local teams to recognize their own elite athletes and perhaps sponsor them through the Zone ODP process and beyond. Obviously this takes more time and travel in some areas, but that's just the way it will be for awhile, or forever... IMHO
Why don't some zones even field as many teams as they are permitted? Do they have enough teams to qualify but choose not to travel? Is it travel cost? I believe that when JO's are held in one location with many teams "nearby" (California) it would be reasonable for a portion of the tournament fees of the "locals" to be used to offset the expenses of those traveling from much further away. Perhaps teams from Michigan, New York, etc. could at least have their tournament fees waived. That alone might be a savings of $50 per family/coach. Would that make a difference? I don't know. Would that break USAWP? I doubt it. The tourney fee would probably just be increased to offset the scholarship/sponsorship.
What are the recent statistics regarding the number of California and non-California teams attending JO's?