The 2010 FINA Masters World Championships were held in Goteborg, Sweden, with the water polo competition being held in Boras, about 36 miles from Goteborg. The Organizing Committee had renovated a 50 meter Outdoor Pool to hold one course (the extra area was used for warm-up, plus a tower diving pool set up with a cage) and had built a new 50 meter Indoor pool which held two courses. Both facilities were outstanding, and aside from several days of rain, having the three courses in close proximity made for an excellent tournament for the teams and the spectators.
This was also the first Championship held under the new time element for games that was approved at the FINA Masters Congress in Rome last year. The teams from 30+ through 45+ played 4 periods of 7 minutes each; and the teams from 50+ played 4 periods of 6 minutes each. We plan to check with the various teams to see how they enjoyed playing under these new time standards.
There were 56 teams entered in the 2010 Championships, representing 19 Countries, with 11 of the teams being from the United States of America. Teams from the US were KAOS with 5 teams (65+, 60+, 55+, 45+ and 40+), The Olympic Club with 3 teams (45+, and 30+ Men and 30+ Women), Santa Barbara Masters (50+), Ras Tanura WPC (Saudi Arabia) (50+) and Newport Water Polo Foundation (35+).
WOMEN'S 30+: There were three teams in the Women's competition. One in 30+ (The Olympic Club from USA), one in 35+ SK Neptun from Sweden) and one in 40+ (Pink Pointers International from Australia) age groups. The FINA Rules require that there be at last three teams in an age group in order to hold the competition, so the 35+ and 40+ teams were offered the opportunity to enter the 30+ age group. There were some considerations given these teams relative to scheduling in order to encourage them to compete, which they did.
The Olympic Club had an impressive collection of players, headed by Bernice Orwig (a 2000 Olympian and a Peter J. Cutino Award recipient) and Serela Kay, a former National Team player. They were joined by veterans Kira Shymanski, Julia Cesnik, Katie Windle, Susanne Eskilson, Brigitte Donner, Megan Thomson and Elissa Kezsler.This was their first adventure into International play representing the Club and they were all excited to play.
The teams played a double round-robin schedule, with the scores as follows:
Olympic Club 13 – Pink Pointers 3; SK Neptun 5 – Pink Pointers 7; Olympic Club 11 – SK Neptun 2; Olympic Club 11 – SK Neptun 3; SK Neptun 4 – Pink Pointers 4; Olympic Club 13 – Pink Pointers 3
Final Placing: Gold – The Olympic Club, Silver – Pink Pointers International, Bronze – SK Neptun
Hopefully, this competition will help encourage more women's teams to compete in the next World Masters Championships in 2012 in Riccione, Italy.
Special mention needs to be given to KAOS, headed by Carl Strand, who entered 5 teams. KAOS is located in Los Angeles, but draws its members from across the United States and even from other Countries. Team coordinators are assigned to each age group to help bring organization to the Club, which has over 230 members. KAOS hosts an annual master's camp in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Their teams stayed at a family run hotel in Goteborg and commuted to the competition. Seven of their players played on two teams, 3 between the 40+ and 45+ teams and 4 between the 55+ and 60+ teams. The 4 on the 55+ team got the dubious privilege of playing back-to-back when the 60+ Bronze medal game followed the 55+ gold Medal game. The two silver medals won were the best performance yet at Worlds for the KAOS teams.
Another special mention needs to be made to Larry Krauser of KAOS, who besides his Silver Medal in the 55+ age Group for Water Polo, earned Silver Medals in the 100 meter and 200 meter swimming races, along with a Gold Medal in the 800 meter swimming and the Open Water Gold in his age group.
MEN'S 65+: There were only two teams entered in this age group, SV Cannstatt from Germany and KAOS Likeables from the USA. These teams were offered the opportunity to compete in the Men's 60+ age group, plus they would play a one game Championship for Gold and Silver in the Men's 65+ age group, which they both accepted. The Championship game ended up with SV Canstatt defeating KAOS Likeables 8-1. The Likeables had played a game earlier in the day against Real Canoe from Spain, winning in overtime to finish in seventh place in the 60+ age group.
MEN'S 60+: There were eight teams entered in this age group; six 60+ teams plus the two 65+ teams, with a single round-robin being played, then re-stacking the teams and playing off for final placing (first against second, third against fourth, fifth against sixth and seventh against eighth). There were 4 teams from Germany, 2 teams from USA (KAOS Likeables 65+ and KAOS Bronzefingers 60+), 1 team from Finland and one team from Australia.
In games played by the USA Teams, the KAOS Likeables 65+ had a 0 win, 1 tie and 6 loss record and played off for 7th place. Their games scores were: SV Cannstatt (Germany) 4-14, SV Poseidon (Germany) 5-16, KAOS Bronzefingers (USA) 3-17, SG Magdeburg (Germany) 2-8, SV Cannstatt 65+ (Germany) 2-16, Perth Cockatoos (Australia) 4-9, and Helsingfors SS (Finland) 6-6. In their placing game they defeated Helsingfors in overtime 4-2 to finish in Seventh place.
The KAOS Bronzefingers 60+ had a 4 win, 1 tie and 2 loss record to finish in Fourth Place in the round-robin. Their game scores were: Perth Cockatoos (Australia) 6-4, Helsingfors SS (Finland) 10-2, KAOS Likeables (USA) 17-3, SV Cannstatt 65+ (Germany) 6-3, SV Poseidon (Germany) 3-7, SV Cannstatt 60+ (Germany) 5-6 and SG Magdeburg (Germany) 4-4. In their placing game they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but then gave up 5 unanswered goals and lost to SG Magdeburg 3-5, to finish in Fourth place.
MEN'S 55+: There were 7 teams entered in this age group with the only USA entry being KAOS Centurions. They played a single round-robin, then re-stacking the teams with the seventh place team being declared seventh place and the remainder playing placing games. They had a 4 win, 1 tie, and 1 loss record and finished second in the round-robin. The scores for the KAOS Centurions were: Kopenicker SV Neptun Berlin (Germany) 14-4, City Beach (Australia) 10-5, Dusseldorfer SC 1898 (Germany) 2-5, Europa Sporting Association (Italy) 7-7, Slavia Praha (Czech Republic) 7-3, and SC Kalev (Estonia) 9-6. In the Championship game they lost to Dusseldorfer SC 1898 4-6, earning the Silver medal.
The KAOS Centurians put on the best performance of the 5 KAOS teams, using balance, playing as a team and having everyone play up to their ability to earn the silver medal. They had lost to Dusseldorf 5-2 in the preliminary round, but having adjusted their defense to match the stifling Dusseldorf drop with one of their own, the teams battled to a tense 3-3 tie over the first 3 quarters. In the fourth quarter, Dusseldorf converted a couple of early opportunities and won by a 6-4 score.
MEN'S 50+: This was the largest contingent of teams with 11 teams entered, including two from the USA. The teams were divided into two groups to play a round-robin within each group. Then the top two teams from each group and the third and fourth place teams from each formed new groups to play cross-overs for final placing, while the fifth place team from Group A and the 5th and 6th place team from Group B formed a new group to play for 9th to 11th place (with the game from Group B carrying forward).
The favorite in this group was the Dynamo Club from Moscow. They had won the 45+ age group in Perth in 2008 as Moscow 04, but now had a new sponsor. Many of their players from the 45+ team had "aged up" and were now playing 50+ and 45+, headed by Georgy Mschvenaradze, the outstanding Russian hole set from the 1980 Olympic Team, and throughout the 1980's playing professionally in Italy.
The two US teams were the Santa Barbara Masters and the Ras Tanura Water Polo Club (actually from Saudi Arabia, but registered as from the US). Santa Barbara Masters is a team based on UC, Santa Barbara's 1979 NCAA Championship team, playing together in Masters since 1989. This year several of their key players (Including Craig Wilson and Greg Boyer (1988 Olympic Silver Medalists) were unable to make the trip. They were able to acquire several players who played a large role in their success (Jerry Mix, Tom Schindler, Jim Bates and Jim Bailey; plus Steve "Harpo" Hamann in the goal). Ras Tanura is a bunch of US ex-pats working in Saudi Arabia, but still enjoying their water polo experience. Their title was Ras Tanura Water Polo and Social Club. They were assisted in their efforts by that well known raconteur from Northern California, Glen "Doc" Hofer, who was also an honorary member of the Women's Pink Panther International team from Perth, Australia, repeating his cameo appearance in their final game.
The teams both ended up in Group B, which consisted of six teams. Santa Barbara finished second in the group with 4 wins and 1 loss (a very tight 2-3 loss to Dynamo Masters), while Ras Tanura finished in 5th place with 1 win and 4 losses. Their respective scores within the group were: Santa Barbara: Master Old Fellows (Brazil) 13-3, City Beach (Australia) 10-2, Helsingfors SS (Finland)10-8, Ras Tanura WPC 20-4 and Dynamo Masters 2-3; Ras Tanura: City Beach (Australia) 8-4, Helsingfors SS (Finland) 8-9, Dynamo Masters (Russia) 3-18, Santa Barbara Masters (USA) 4-20 and Master Old Fellows (Brazil) 7-10.
In the placing games, Ras Tanura WPC defeated Calgary Masters (Canada) to earn Ninth Place. While in the semi-finals, Santa Barbara Masters Defeated SV Cannstatt (Germany), first place from Group A, 6-4 to advance to the Championship game for a rematch against Dynamo Masters (Russia), who had defeated Real Canoe 10-3. Real Canoe went on to defeat SV Cannstatt 6-5 for the Bronze medal. Before the Championship game began, a mishap at the scorer's table caused a 25 minute delay in a futile attempt to get the controls working. Since games were in progress in the other two courses, it was decided to go ahead with the game without a game clock, shot clocks or scoreboard. The game was played before a full house with Santa Barbara receiving amazing support from the other American Clubs present. The game was extremely close all the way through.
Dynamo jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but on goals by John Dobrott and Jim Bailey, Santa Barbara came back to tie at 2-2. Dynamo scored again to take a 3-2 lead at half-time. An interesting call was made by the officials in the second period that affected the game later on. Santa Barbara had stolen the ball from the Dynamo 2-meter man and was advancing down the pool, when the official blew his whistle and awarded a time out to Dynamo, giving them the ball back. The third period had the teams trading goals (with Mike and Buc Yates scoring for Santa Barbara) and at the end of the period, Dynamo was still up 5-4. The fourth period opened with Jerry Mix scoring a bar-down shot from 8 meters to tie the game 5-5. Dynamo scored again to go up 6-5. With less than two minutes left, Tom Schindler earned a kick-out at 2 meters and Santa Barbara called time-out. Following the time-out, they moved the ball well with Buc Yates scoring from the post to tie again at 6-6. With less than a minute Santa Barbara used a field block to recover the ball and then called a time-out. The desk reported that Santa Barbara already had used 2 time-outs, which was vehemently disputed by Santa Barbara, so the officials returned the ball to Dynamo with about 30 seconds to go. With time running down, Dynamo's hole set threw up a 5 meter back-hand lob that went in to the far corner for a goal, putting Dynamo up 7-6. Santa Barbara had one last try at a shot, but it missed and they had to settle for the Silver Medal. Both teams received a standing ovation from the crowd for a great game.
MEN'S 45+: The favorite in this age group was the Dynamo Club from Moscow. They won this age group in Perth in 2008 as Moscow 04, but obtained a new sponsor in Dynamo. As stated in the 50+ age group, many of their players were playing 50+ and 45+.
There were 9 teams entered in this age group, with the KAOS Bulmanians and the Olympic Club entered from the US. The Olympic Club entered with high hopes as many of their players had been playing together since winning Gold as a 30+ team in Sheffield, England in 1996, repeating as Champions in Morocco in 1998 and participating in every World Championship since then, slowly moving up the age group ladder and now playing as a 45+ team. The team was led by Mike Haley, probably the most decorated player in World Masters history with Gold medals in 1996 (30+), 1998 (30+), 2002 (35+) and 2006 (40+); Silver medals in 2004 (40+), 2008 (45+) and 2010 (30+) and Bronze medals in 2008 (40+) and 2010 (45+); plus veterans from other World Masters in Mike Ennis (Goalie), Doug Norton, Vince Tonne, Bill Schoening, Bob Abbott, Kurt Kautz, John Hendrickson, Andrew Weiglein, Matt Kennedy and Dean Quintal. This also means that the Olympic Club, the oldest Athletic Club in the United States (established in 1860), is probably the most decorated Club in Masters World Championships as all of these medals referenced above, plus others, were won by The Olympic Club.
The KAOS Bulmanians entered the tournament with high hopes based on extensive pre-tournament preparation, but ran into a hornet's nest of very strong teams and lost the services of a couple of starters due to injuries. The Bulmanians rallied from 4 goals down to salvage a 14-14 tie versus Old Boys Morova in their opener, which was a key factor in their sixth place finish.
The teams were divided into two groups with 4 teams in Group A and 5 teams in Group B. The groups played round-robin with the top team from each group earning a bye and the second and third place teams from each group playing cross-overs to determine who played the first place team from the opposite group. The winners from these games played cross-overs with the first place teams for first to fourth places, while the losers played each other for 5th and 6th places. Seventh through Ninth places were decided by the 4th place team from Group A playing the 4th and 5th place teams from Group B, with the game from Group B carrying forward.
KAOS Bulmanians were drawn into Group A, where they finished third. This advanced them to play against the Olympic Club in a quarter final for further advancement. In the game, the Olympic Club won 5-0, sending KAOS forward to play Europa Sporting Association (Italy) for 5th Place. In that game Europa emerged the winner 10-6.
In the semi-finals Master Old Fellows (Brazil) lost a tight game to WPC Kiev 9-8, while Dynamo Masters defeated the Olympic Club 9-4. This set up Master Old Fellows and the Olympic Club to play for third place and Dynamo Masters and WPC Kiev to play for first and second. In the third place game, it was a hard fought battle with the Olympic Club prevailing 3-2 to gain the Bronze medal. In the Championship game, Dynamo Masters rolled over WPC Kiev 12-5 for the Gold medal, with WPC Kiev garnering the Silver medal.
MEN'S 40+: There were 7 teams in this age group with KAOS Blasters being the sole USA representative. They showed spunk with a thrilling come-from-behind 9-8 win over Real Canoe of Spain for their single victory. After tying Partizan Belgrade of Serbia during the preliminary round, the Blasters lost to them in placing play to finish 6th.
The teams played a single round-robin with the seventh place team being awarded seventh place, while the rest played placing games. Real Canoe (Spain) lost all their games to garner this spot. KAOS Blasters had a 1 win, 1 tie and 4 loss record to gain the right to play for 5th place. In that game, they lost to Partizan Belgrade (Serbia) 10-5 to finish in 6th place. Master Old Fellows (Brazil) defeated Masters Belarus (Belarus) 8-4 to gain the Bronze medal, while WPC Astana (Kazakhstan) defeated C. C. Ortiga (Italy) 11-5 to win the Gold medal, while C.C. Ortiga garnered the Silver Medal.
MEN'S 35+: There were 8 teams in this age group, with Newport Water Polo Foundation being the lone US representative. They played a single round-robin, followed by placing games. Newport had stepped up from the 30+ age group (where they had played at Stanford in 2006 and Perth in 2008) for this Championship. They were headed by Darrin Blizzard and Commander Doug Munz at set/forward where they caused consistent havoc and goals. Outside shooting was provided by Peter "stuntman" Zamoyski, who suffered a broken nose in their first game, while Greg Hakim supplied all the 7 meter bunnies. Counter attacks were provided by Rick Freyre, while guards Greg Haynes and Jim Hassett provided the defense in front of stalwart goalie Dan della Maggoria. In group play they had a 4 win, 3 loss record to finish in 4th place. In their placing game, they played Master Old Fellows (Brazil) in a tight struggle, emerging with a 7-6 victory to gain third place. In the Championship game, CK CCCP (Russia) defeated Dzukijos Vandenis (Lithuania) 8-5 to win the Gold medal, while Dzukijos Vandenis garnered the Silver medal.
MEN'S 30+: Strangely, this age group had only 4 teams entered: The Olympic Club (USA), WPC Astana (Kazakhstan), Russian Beavers (Russia) and Polisens IF (Sweden). They played a double-round robin, followed by placing games.
The Olympic Club had gathered together an outstanding group of players from major colleges who wanted to continue playing water polo: Paul Felton, Peter Conte, Chris Lathrop and Spencer Dornin from Cal; Nick Ellis (goalie), Sean Joy and Brian Heifferon (who was a last minute scratch due to an injury) from Stanford; Neal Brockmeier and Drew Netherton from USC, Ross Mecham from UC, San Diego and Giovanni Napolitano from the University of Sicily. Mike Haley (UOP) and Dean Quintal (Cal) signed on as emergency replacements and to add a little "beef", if required.
WPC Astana ended up on top with a 5 win, 1 tie record, followed by The Olympic Club with a 4 win 2 loss record (both to WPC Astana by scores of 8-7 and 7-4). In the placing games, the Russian Beavers defeated Polisens IF 14-3 for the Bronze medal. In the Championship game, it was a tight, hard fought game all the way through, going into overtime, followed by a shoot out. Just the type of game you would want for the final game of a Championship. The first quarter score was Astana on top by 2-1; half time was still Astana on top 3-2. Action heated up in the third quarter and ended as a 5-5 tie. The final quarter found Astana going up 6-5 early in the quarter but then Chris Lathrop scored a last minute extra man goal to knot it at 5-5 when time expired. In the first overtime period Astana scored an early goal to go up 6-5, but this was again answered by a late extra man goal from Spencer Dornin to knot the score at 6-6.The second overtime period produced no goals, so the teams went to a shoot out. In the shoot out, Astana made their first four Penalty shots, while the Olympic Club missed two of their first four penalty shots and Astana, winning 10-8, walked off with the Gold medal, while the Olympic Club garnered the Silver medal.
An aside to all of this, and part of the experience of Masters World Championships, was that the accommodations for The Olympic Club teams were at the Boras Campgrounds in cabins that they had there, holding 3/4 persons per cabin. From here it was about a ten minute walk to the pool, and a 5 minute walk to the bus stop that took you to downtown Boras. The Club had 11 cabins, so with a large lawn area in front of the first row of cabins, there was a "social time" each evening. The first night was the best with a barbecue planned. There was one barbecue pit for the area so the group commandered this and purchased steaks. The crew of Mike Haley, Andre Weiglein, Bill Schoening and Mike Ennis worked on the steaks, cooking them till half done, placing them on trays with foil and transferring them to the ovens in various cabins. The girls prepared a salad in their cabins, and all cabins found their largest pots to prepare pasta for the meal. The tables and chairs from all cabins were moved to an open road area, lined up and somehow it all came together at the same time, and the group of 32 people sat down to a great barbecue together. A memory that will live for a long time with all those involved.
The next FINA World Masters is planned for June 2-16, 2012, in Riccione, Italy. Any US Club that enjoys the sport of Masters Water Polo should start now to make their plans to attend.
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