About the Water Polo Combine

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 Water Polo Combine. On June 16th, 2021, we will – for the 7th year in a row – connect male and female high school water polo athletes to college coaches in a unique, one of a kind opportunity.

One of the biggest recruiting challenges for high school water polo athletes is gaining exposure to and making connections with college coaches and programs. At the Water Polo Combine, athletes will get the opportunity they so badly need; to showcase their abilities in front of a multitude of coaches by whom they are rarely ever seen.  This is an opportunity to shine, to make contacts and most importantly, to possibly open doors to the next level of education and athletic participation.

Throughout the morning and afternoon of June 16, 2021, each athlete will participate in a schedule of skills testing, ability demonstration, measurements and live scrimmages in the presence of college coaches. After these in-pool activities parents, athletes and coaches gather for an interactive Meet and Greet session where everyone has the opportunity for face time, introductions and discussion. Coaches that attend the Combine receive a comprehensive Combine Program, complete with athlete bios and resume-type information. Coaches also receive copies of athlete testing results.

Though we cannot guarantee that athletes will be recruited because they attend the Water Polo Combine, we are certain that you will find the Water Polo Program to be one of the top recruiting opportunities in the sport of water polo.

NCAA Compliance

Like institutional camps held on an NCAA institution’s campus, this non-institutional event is open to any and all participants and is only restricted by age, grade or enrollment numbers. No registrant of the camp will receive free or reduced camp tuition. The NCAA requires its member coaches to only participate in camps that are held to these standards. This includes camps held on their own campuses.

Two Ways To Participate 

Combine Only

The Combine Only option is for participation on our main Combine Day, June 16, 2021, only. This is the day that the college coaches focus on being in attendance. All athletes, whether selecting Combine Only or Combine Plus+ will participate on the main Combine Day. The participation for for Combine Only athletes is $195.00.

After a deck warm up and in-pool warm up, athletes will assemble into their pre-assigned Heat alignments for skills, drills and testing. These compulsories will be recorded and the results provided to the coaches that same day.

Later in the morning, athletes will move to game play with their pre-assigned teams with coaches there to engage with the athletes and of course evaluate them during the games. Coaches use a printed Combine Program to track athletes and make notes on them. All athletes will have a a lunch break during the day (will lunch provided to the athletes) and will resume game play throughout the rest of the day

After games are completed, athletes and parents will move to a Meet and Greet session with the college coaches.

Combine Plus+

For an additional $195.00, athletes can select to be part of the Combine Plus+ program. Combine Plus starts on Tuesday evening, June 15th, 2021 and ends on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 at approximately 3pm. In between athletes will of course participate on Combine Day, June 16th. It is a great opportunity for athletes to get in extra time with other top players from as many as 17 other states across the country.

Combine Plus gives athletes the chance to work on the Combine Day skills/testing in a more controlled environment ahead of Combine Day. Additionally athletes will be pre-assigned to teams that they will play with and attend film study sessions with throughout the Combine Plus program. Scrimmages and games will be videoed and the video will be used in film study sessions where coaches advise athletes on improving team and individual play.

Program Hosts/Founders

To indicate Founders
Nikola Malezanov
Jim Staresinic

Since coming to the United States from the waterpolo powerhouse of Serbia in 2006, Nikola has established himself as a premier coach at numerous levels. Through his coaching, he has established tremendous relationships at the youth, high school, collegiate and international levels.

Nikola has developed a deep passion for creating
unique, high-value opportunities for young water polo players and works tirelessly to be involved in player development locally, regionally, and across the country through his affiliation with USA Water Polo. The Water Polo Combine is part of Nikola’s never ending search to make sure young players are getting every chance they can to succeed in the sport of water polo.

More on Nikola

Nikola is the Head Water Polo Coach of both the Men’s and Women’s teams at Washington and Jefferson College. He is the Head Coach of the Unites States Men’s Cadet National Team and has been part of the Men’s Senior National Team staff for the United States most recently in 2019 and 2020.

Prior to his current roles, Nikola spent 6 years as the Head Water Polo Coach at the Pittsburgh Water Polo Club and North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, PA where won two Pennsylvania State Championships. Prior to that, Nikola was an Assistant Coach with the US Naval Academy Men’s Team under Hall of Fame Coach Mike Schofield and an age group coach with the renowned Naval Academy Aquatics Club. Nikola started his career as a player and coach in his home town of Nis, Serbia.

As a father of two water polo players who have completed their college playing careers, Jim has had firsthand experience in navigating the recruiting waters for his sons and for many of the young players he has had the opportunity to coach/interact with. For the past eleven years, Jim has been passionate about creating opportunities in the sport of water polo for youth of all ages and skill levels, particularly in the Eastern United States where he resides.

Combining his experiences with his passion, Jim wanted to create a vehicle to help athletes and parents outside of the traditional water polo hotbeds achieve their dreams of playing collegiate water polo. He wanted to create a more direct connection between coaches, programs, athletes and parents. Hence the Water Polo Combine was created.

More on Jim

Jim has coached at the club, High School and National levels. He is currently on the staff of the United States Men’s Cadet National Team, is the Head Coach for the Women’s Club Team at the University of Pittsburgh and is an Assistant Coach at North Allegheny High school in Wexford, PA.

Since 2010, Jim has coached in USA Water Polo’s ODP program for the Northeast and Great Lakes Zones and has twice earned the Top Cadet Coach award, including at the 2020 ODP National Championships.

Hotels/Travel Information

A complete list of suggested lodging options will be provided toward the end of Spring 2021, when we finalize our event location.

Universities Attending

Listed below are the Universities that committed to attending the Water Polo Combine in 2020. Though we did not conduct the Combine in 2020 due to pandemic-related concerns, we expect a similar lineup of coaches in 2021, across Divisions I, II and III. For each of the past six years, approximately 20 university coaches have attended the Water Polo Combine and – given the COVID-driven challenges of the 2020 recruiting environment – we anticipate that our 2021 Combine will draw an even larger number of coaches. Starting in early Spring of 2021, we will begin providing regular updates on the coach commitments we receive for the Combine.

  • Pomona Pitzer
  • LaVerne
  • Grove City
  • Iona
  • Univ. of Toronto
  • Long Beach
  • McKendree
  • Salem
  • Mercyhurst
  • W&J
  • Brown

  • Cal Lutheran
  • St. Francis PA
  • Penn St Behrend
  • Bucknell
  • VMI
  • Harvard
  • Wittenburg
  • Carthage
  • Fordham
  • Gannon

Event Location

The 2021 Water Polo Combine will be held in the Greater Pittsburgh, PA area, as it has been each year. The event will be conducted at one of two state-of-the-art facilities within 80 minutes of the Pittsburgh International Airport. We will provide facility information as COVID restrictions lift later this Spring as anticipated. The first five years of the Water Polo Combine were held at the University of Pittsburgh’s Trees Pool (pictured on this web page). In 2020, the event was scheduled for the Mylan Park Aquatics Center near the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.