This month we had a feature in a local newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel: Community News – Boca Times
New water polo program begins in Boca Raton
Tyler Lage has always been fascinated by the water.
The 13-year-old Boca Raton teenager was part of two swim clubs and enjoys surfing, so about two months ago he decided to try out for a newly-formed water polo program — Florida East Coast Water Polo Club, which plays out of Boca Raton High School.
Lage, a St. Paul Lutheran eighth-grader, started with them about 2 1/2 months ago when the program began and said he immediately fell in love with the sport.
“It is really cool,” he said. “It is an amazing sport. I like that it’s hard and challenging. I like challenges. It’s great because I love the water and you get exercise in the water.”
When he began, he had tendinitis in his left shoulder so because he is pushing 6 feet tall, coaches had him try goalie and he has been a fixture there.
“I wasn’t able to do regular practices, so they had me start off as a goalie and I got a grasp of that really fast and I love it,” Lage said. He also said his nine years of swim team experience and his five-year love of surfing has come in handy.
“It is kind of hard to get used to treading water, but I did,” he said. “I was on the swim team for like my whole life, so I got used to that. I surf in Boca, so I am used to the wind chops and things like that. When you are dealing with that and the wind currents, it actually teaches you to become a great water polo player. I tried a lot of other sports and found this.”
The Florida East Coast Water Polo Club was founded by three long-time members of the water polo community, Kurt Predmore, Jorge Montero and Marco Berra.
Predmore, who currently serves as the USA Water Polo Southeast Zone chairman and USA Water Polo Southeast Zone Olympic Development head coach, stepped away from the coach at Saint Andrew’s in 2018.
“I needed to take a break and get my health and personal life aligned,” Predmore said. “I started Florida East Coast Water Polo Club as a stand-alone entity and nonprofit oriented to just water polo and the growth of the sport in the area.
“I want to provide kids that play in high school or who are looking to play an opportunity to get year-round training with a USAWP-sanctioned club,” he said. “Additionally, we want to offer an alternate avenue of sport for the younger kids in the area. We are reaching out to local middle schools and city recreation departments.”
Because water polo is a small but growing sport in the Florida High School Athletic Association, Predmore indicated that he would like to foster and support that growth in Palm Beach County.
“In addition to the water polo club, we have established Palm Beach Water Polo Foundation,” he said. “This nonprofit will be working toward helping high schools with resources and coaching as well as clinics and other training to facilitate the learning of the sport and provide some coaching training as well.”
The coaching staff consists of some veterans, in addition to Predmore and Montero, who serves as the head coach for both of the 18-Under boys’ and girls’ teams in addition to an Open team. There are about 45 water polo players.
“We are working with Florida Atlantic University players to establish an Open team,” Montero said. “We are trying to work with players who are at schools that don’t have programs in the area.
“I think it is a great environment to have players here that go to different schools,” he said. “There are no rivalries until the high school season starts. Locally, it is more just friendly matches.”
A month in, Montero said they are still getting their footing. COVID-19 definitely put a damper on when they could start.
“We had planned on starting right after high school season,” Montero said. “We are right where we want to be right now, but we would like to continue growing and expand the middle school kids. That is going to be the feeder for the future. High school-wise, we are going to reach out to more schools that have swim programs or other programs that don’t have any water polo at all.”
Call 561-436-6314 for information.
*edited to show third founding member.