Olympics coach takes over water polo program

By Alex Edel

This season will mark the start of Robert Lynn’s first season as the head coach for the boys’ water polo team. After Larry Felix’s resignation in April, Lynn was hired in June to coach physical education and be head coach.

Lynn said he was drawn to Harvard Westlake because of “the supportiveness of the staff, their goals, and their objectives to be successful.”

The water polo team’s dedication and desire to achieve also made Harvard Westlake attractive to him.

“This is a very good motivating factor for me,” Lynn said. “I like people who want to win and want to challenge themselves and that is definitely one of the reasons why I came.”

Lynn grew up in Long Beach and attended Long Beach Wilson. From there he attended University of Southern California where he was a three-time All-American. He also played water polo professionally in Italy, France, Croatia and Greece for 13 years. Playing professionally in Europe was “everything,” Lynn said.

“When you get out of college and there is nothing else to do but start to work, and you can’t play anymore because there is no professional water polo,” Lynn said. “You have that in Europe. Their game is at a higher level. When you start playing for a living you take it much more seriously. I went to four different countries learning from a lot of good coaches that have won gold medals and I have seen things that I have not gotten here.”

Lynn has a wide variety of coaching experience including coaching USA Water Polo’s Youth National Team, and Assistant Coach of the Men’s Olympic Team who earned a silver medal in Beijing.

“It was the first time in 20 years that we had that kind of result and so I was part of something that was great for water polo and so that was a great achievement,” Lynn said.

The decision to hire Lynn was ultimately made by Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts, and Head of Athletics Audrius Barzducas. However many other faculty members weighed in on the decision.

The school knew about Lynn’s reputation before the head water polo coaching position opened up.

“When the opportunity came up for the job he expressed interest and we were very interested in him and brought him in for an interview and he did very well, he impressed everyone in the community and so we decided to hire him,” Athletic Director Terry Barnum said.

After losing in the first round of CIF against Dos Pueblos, this season the team’s goal is to win CIF, but Lynn also has other goals.

“My goal here is to make everyone stronger,” Lynn said. “All the players — making them faster swimmers better technicians with their shooting motion, understanding the game more, and they will be ready to play at a higher level.”

“I just want to make sure I am building for this year and building for next year and for a few years down the road and more. So it is going to take a couple years, and this year I just have to see what is going on, and start the process,” Lynn said.