If you have ever used the term “dumb jocks”, don’t be caught using it in the presence of the DVC men’s water polo team.
Aside from being the four-time defending conference champions and substantial favorite to make it five in a row, the men’s water polo team might be even better in the classroom.
Coach John Roemer emphasized his players’ academic prowess more than their talent in the pool. “Last year we had the highest GPA of all 17 DVC athletic teams,” he said. He also proudly stated that the team was nominated for top scholastic team amongst all junior college sports teams in the country, where they were awarded fourth place.
This is likely only the beginning of things to come. In the four years that Roemer has been head coach he has created a culture of grades first, games second. He made it clear that if a player cares less for academics than water polo, they can’t play for him. It seems to be paying off.
“Every guy who had aspirations of going to a four-year school has done just that, in the time that I’ve been here,” Roemer said. And these are no chump schools: many of his players are being accepted into institutions such as UC-Davis, UC-San Diego, UC-Santa Barbara, MIT and UC-Berkeley.
However, Roemer still has high hopes for his team. He said he expects to win the state title this season, which would be the first in team history. Their best finish to date is third place, accomplished last year.
Early prospects appear to back up Roemer’s expectations. The best players are the six sophomores he retains from last year. Three top-notch goalies are present as well; a position so loaded that one was forced to redshirt.
The team also has exceptional depth. With the ability to go 12 or 13 deep, instead of the usual seven or eight, there is no relenting when the second-stringers enter games. “There’s not that much of a drop off, which is great. We’ve never had that before,” Roemer stated.
Roemer’s only concern is injuries. Multiple players have shoulder problems and other fatigue issues. But he said that if the majority can stay healthy this men’s water polo team could be the best DVC’s ever had.
Roemer credits the team’s success both in and out of the pool the fostering of a positive and standard-laden environment. He said that in terms of coaching, more than half of it has nothing to do with water polo. “It’s like being a second father,” he said. He’d rather one of his players have to miss practice to study for an exam than putting studying aside to make that practice. “My highest expectations are for what you do in the classroom. Not even pertaining to water polo.”
Roemer and his Vikings’ first home game is scheduled for Oct. 3 at 3:30pm.