Agoura High School’s Varsity boys water polo team, Wednesday, proved once more what their exceptional program is all about: hard work, perseverance, leadership, tenacity and team work. Coming back from a three point deficit in the first quarter, the Chargers ultimately edged out Royal 10-8 before a considerable crowd of enthusiastic family members, fans and special guests, including two Agoura Hills City Council candidates: incumbent, , and .
Edelston and Lepisto were in attendance to get a first-hand look at the city’s championship water polo team in action during one of their final home games of the season, and to revisit the aged pool facility in which these nationally acclaimed athletes train and compete. And, true to form, the Chargers impressed, demonstrating why the team remains undefeated in league at 8-0, and continues its drive toward a sixth consecutive Marmonte League championship.
For parents of seniors, it was one of few remaining opportunities to watch at home court their Varsity sons, surrounded by fellow teammates–and trusted friends–led by acclaimed and respected coaches, working together for one more shot at League and CIF championships before graduation gowns and diplomas take the place of uniform Speedos, and (oh so many lost pairs of) goggles.
Boys water polo season is winding up; so, too are the high school careers of some twelve Agoura Varsity players. But as these young men move out into the wider world and adulthood responsibilities, they take with them virtues and life lessons their sports titles simply symbolize: character, integrity, good sportsmanship, teamwork, persistence, patience, and purpose.
And, when CIF playoffs do begin in just a few short weeks, there will be no home court hoopla or advantage opportunities for the Chargers. The high school’s 40-year-old pool facility does not meet regulation standards for CIF events. It is simply too small and too shallow. Forty years ago, Agoura High School’s (AHS) pool facility may have been considered “new wave.” Today, it barely contains its ever-expanding, championship teams, or rises to the level of contemporary training and competition-sized pools.
“It was a nice facility for its day...that day has gone,” John Edelston remarked. “Agoura High School not being able to host CIF due to the lack of a regulation size pool is a travesty.“
Which is not to say it hasn’t served the community and literally thousands of student athletes well these past four decades. A deep debt of gratitude for its long-lived service is widely acknowledged. But, like the surrounding communities of Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, it’s time to modernize Agoura High School’s pool facility. Drawn to a culture of excellence both in and out of the pool, record numbers of Las Virgenes student athletes have joined the school’s aquatics program. Just as the program has grown, developed and excelled, so must its training and competition facility.
Wednesday’s game unquestionably featured preeminent high school level water polo competition, but it also shone a bright spotlight on the need to renovate and enlarge Agoura High School’s pool facility for another nearly half century, and scores of student athletes and families who will pass through those gates and take their place on the pool deck.
Considering the past forty years as a benchmark, an investment in an upgraded, energy-efficient pool will clearly pay off for the school district, city, student athletes and community at large.
Each of the Agoura Hills City Council candidates recognize the value this program brings to the community, and supports Agoura Water Polo Foundation’s plan to bring the pool up to contemporary standards. (Please see attached pdf, above). Schools like Agoura High, after all, are an economic asset to the entire community.
Parents had an opportunity, Wednesday, to share with City Council candidates, John Edelston and Sue Lepisto, their enthusiasm for the AHS aquatics program and the many positive impacts it’s had on their children. “I can’t even begin to tell you what this program and all our great coaches–Dusty [Litvak], Jason [Rosenthal], Peter [Schiavelli]–have done for my son,” McClintick told Edelston. “And, not just in terms of water polo. But, in terms of what it means to be a successful person outside of the pool,” she said.
“Both my daughters played water polo at AHS," Edelston replied. "My oldest daughter was co-captain of her water polo team (class of 1999). [It] was an essential part of their lives. I will do everything I can to help make a regulation size pool facility a reality.”
Edelston also made the point that steps could be taken to make the renovation a reality, "Identify[ing] members of the community and local businesses that will financially support a new pool facility at AHS," he said. "The recession has affected the City's finances as it has the School District. However, the City may be able to look at creative ways to channel funds for the pool, such as contracting with the AWP Foundation or school district to rent the pool facilities when they are not being used for after school programs enabling the foundation or district to use this revenue stream to borrow some of the money needed to build a new pool."
Sue Lepisto offered, “There are some very dedicated people who would like to see the size and scope of the pool improved. For our city staff and elected officials to meet with district and site staff, along with the Agoura Water Polo Foundation to discuss their proposal could create another city and school district partnership.”
And, although unable to attend the game, candidates, and Illece Buckley Weber also offered their support for pool renovation, via email.
“If elected, I would have to review the present budget and see where the monies are allocated,” Dr. Platzer wrote in an email. “But, I feel that the city, the school and LVUSD should make a concerted effort to renovate the pool to meet contemporary standards…to meet earthquake standards and energy conservation standards.”
wrote in an email: "The City and LVUSD have partnered in the past to improve the tennis courts at AHS, the gym floor and on other joint projects. I would absolutely take the lead on the Council to bring your group, the school district and the city to the table to seriously discuss what is needed to bring the pool up to CIF standards, and what creative options may be out there in these financially challenging times."