It’s not every day that legendary, world class athletes visit the beautiful Santa Maria Valley, despite its many attractions; however, on August 8 and 9, the city will welcome three of the top water polo players in the world along with, what many consider to be the world’s premier water polo coach, Ricardo Azevedo. These amazing athletes, including Tony Azevedo, four time Olympian and Silver Medalist, Maggie Steffens, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Andy Stephens, Men’s Senior National Team Goalie, will be sharing their water polo expertise with 65 young men and women attending a special two-day camp at Paul Nelson Aquatic Center in Santa Maria. These 65 participants will be joining us from cities across the state, thus bringing an influx of visitors to our stunning valley.
The two-day camp will begin August 7 with a private welcome dinner for the athletes prepared by the organizers of the event: Diane Adam, Community Member, Bob and Kirsten Spallino, owners of Bello Forno Wood Fired Cuisine, St. Joseph High School Water Polo coaches Charlie Bell and Brandan Gonzalez, and Edla Enberg, a member of the One Way Water Polo Board of Directors. On Thursday, August 8, camp participants arrive for a full day of water polo instruction and a special lunch-time presentation by Tony Azevedo. A 4:15 press conference has been scheduled to allow local media to ask questions of the Olympians, event organizers, and major sponsors. The day ends with a special gourmet reception at The Loading Dock honoring our Olympic guests as well as our sponsors and local dignitaries and media.
Day two of the Azevedo Central Coast Water Polo Camp includes another full day of instruction for our participants, followed by an exhibition game that is open to participant parents, water polo coaches, sponsors, city officials, and media. After the camp is finished, the Azevedo family will spend a day or two visiting our local wineries and other area attractions.
Event organizers are especially grateful to our area sponsors, including OneWay Water Polo, St. Joseph High School, Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Visitor and Convention Bureau and the City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department.
The Azevedo Central Coast Youth Water Polo Camp is the brainchild of local water polo families who wanted to bring more awareness of the sport to the Central Coast. According to St. Joseph High School and OneWay Water Polo Coach, Charlie Bell, “Having the top male and female water polo athletes in the world, along with one of the top coach in the world, is a great honor and wonderful opportunity for our community.” In addition, event planner, Diane Adam states that, “We are thrilled at the support the community has shown through the City of Santa Maria Parks and Recreation Department and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Visitors and Convention Bureau. We have exceeded our initial expectation of 50 participants and have capped the roster at 65. Our hope is that this becomes an annual event for our community.”
About the Olympic Coaches
Born in Brazil and raised in California Tony has played water polo from his early youth. Inspired by his father, Ricardo Azevedo, also a world-class water polo player and now considered the premier water polo coach in the world, Tony began his award-winning career in high school where he led his team to four CIF championships and earned the title of MVP each of his four years. After high school he joined the water polo team at Stanford University where his team won two NCAA championships and was honored with the Peter J. Cutino Award, the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for football. Tony is a four time Olympian and in 2008 his team won the Silver Medal in China. In 2012, he was named the captain of the U.S. Men’s Water Polo Team at the 2012 Summer Olympics and is now a professional water polo player for the Croatian team, the Jug.
Maggie is currently a student at Stanford University and a member of the U.S. Women’s National Water Polo Team. In 2012, she helped her team win the Gold Medal at the Olympics in London and she is considered by many to be the best woman water polo player in the world. Maggie is the youngest player on the team and comes from a large extended family, many of whom are successful athletes and water polo players. Maggie was born in San Ramon, California and her older sister, Jessica Steffens, is also a member of the Senior National Team.
A water polo player since the age of seven, Andy is the Men’s Senior National Team Goalie, protecting the net for the U.S. Team at the 2012 Olympics in London. With a long list of awards including College Top Goalkeeper from 2008-2010 and four-time ACWPC Division 1 All-American from 2007-2010, Andy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the camp this summer. His exciting and dynamic style will inspire participants and help to ensure they improve their game.
For more information on this exciting event, contact Edla Enberg at 805-268-3686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit our website at www.centralcoastwaterpolocamp.com.