Boys’ water polo gets new coach, copes with construction of pool

By Michael Aronson

The addition of a new coach, construction of a new pool and the loss of a dominant starter made for an eventful summer for the boys’ water polo team, which seeks its first CIF title since its transfer to Division I.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be back at the school that’s given me a lot of opportunities,” new head coach Brian Flacks ’05 said. “The goal is to win the Mission League and to create a certain culture that we want to live by on the Harvard-Westlake water polo program.”

Flacks will coach the team following Robert Lynn’s resignation. Flacks played water polo for four years at Harvard-Westlake, and he believes his familiarity will help him step into the head coaching role.

“The more we spoke with qualified candidates, the more it became obvious that Coach Flacks was the right choice,” Associate Head of Harvard-Westlake Audrius Barzdukas said. 

The renovations of the pool will force all home games to be played off campus at either Los Angeles Valley College, University of California, Los Angeles or a pool in the Pacoima area.

“We’re going to make something happen this year and look at the positive,” Flacks said. “It’s not a rebuilding year, and we are not giving up because of the construction.”

Senior leader Alec Zwaneveld ’12 is optimistic about Flacks as a coach and the team’s talent going into its first game at Marina High School on Sept. 9.

“We have a really good freshman class coming in and some really great sophomores and juniors,” Zwaneveld said. “Our team really hasn’t changed much because we only lost one starting senior.”

The program did however lose starter and leading player Henry McNamara who followed former coach Lynn to Newport Harbor High School. The Wolverines will play their former teammate and coach in their game against Newport Harbor on Oct. 14.

“Newport is definitely the team we’re looking to knock off,” Zwaneveld said. “[Beating them] would send a really good message and it’s something we really have to work hard for.”