Julie Swail has a lot on her plate these days. As captain of the U.S. national women's water polo team, she's competing this week in the international Holiday Cup tournament at the Los Alamitos Armed Forces Reserve Center. There's another tournament in Perth, Australia, next month and then Olympic competition in Sydney in September.
She has also been busy preparing to coach UC Irvine's first women's water polo team next spring.
Swail is excited about the Anteaters' prospects. Maybe that's attributable to her bubbly personality, or that she expects 30-35 swimmers--some on scholarship, some as walk-ons--to try out for the team in October, after she returns from the Olympics.
"I expect us to be strong," she said. "Orange County is a hotbed of water polo. I'm very confident in my coaching ability and in the attitudes and potential of the athletes."
Some of the players Swail enticed to Irvine have strong backgrounds in the sport. Two-meter defender Erica Horman and her Carlsbad High teammate Sunceray Chamblee, a goalie, "have great attitudes and will help build this team," Swail said.
Driver Rebecca Wedemeyer of Palos Verdes Peninsula was "a leader on her high school team," according to Swail, who added that Melissa Fernandez of Redlands is "a solid all-around player who sets and defends and is a top shooter."
Brianna Foulds, from Valencia High and Saddleback College, can set the hole as well as defend, according to Swail, who plans to use Foulds as a driver or at the back-up two-meter position.
Swail, herself a graduate of Valencia High and UC San Diego, said she intends to draw on her college and international experience to build the Anteater program. She is a four-time collegiate All-American and has been captain of the national team since 1997.
"She should be good as a college coach," said Robin Beauregard, a teammate of Swail's on the national team. "She has a good personality and has a very good rapport without being too harsh. That's really important when you are starting a new program because a lot of times you don't always get the top kids to start out. You get players who need more time and effort to develop."
Swail said she works at her new job whenever she can, including planning the Anteaters' schedule during a 17-hour flight from Australia to the United States last month. She's got her mind on the job even when she's working on building her stamina.
"You have to have something to think about when you are swimming all those laps," she said.
Chapman pitching coach Fred Hoover was roasted on his 70th birthday at a gathering of nearly 250 Saturday at a hotel in Long Beach.
In his long career, the tireless Hoover has touched the lives of many baseball players, including several professionals.
"Fred was my first real mentor as far as baseball goes," said Dodger shortstop Kevin Elster, a Marina graduate who played for Hoover at Golden West College. "If it wasn't for Fred Hoover or Golden West College, I certainly wouldn't be playing baseball today.
"He was the best coach I ever had, an absolute inspiration to youngsters. I love him dearly. As far as baseball goes, he's meant everything to me, especially at that time of my life."
Hoover was head coach at Golden West for 23 years and his teams won seven conference championships. After two years as an assistant at Cal State Fullerton and a year at UC Irvine, he returned to Golden West as an assistant in 1992 and joined Chapman in 1996.
Hoover said he has no plans to retire.
"I might croak out there one day," Hoover quipped. "Once the kids stop responding to me, it's time to go. I always read in the newspapers how certain people say that they'll give something up when they know it's time. Then they hang on and on and on. I still like it out there."
Saddleback women's basketball player Erin Edmiston announced she will play for Vanguard this fall. Edmiston, a 1997 graduate of Mariposa High, played for the Gauchos in the 1997-98 season, averaging 13.2 points and 8.7 rebounds. After sitting out 1998-99, Edmiston returned last season to average 19.7 points, second-best in the Orange Empire Conference. The 5-10 guard also averaged 7.4 rebounds and three assists. . . . Chapman outfielder Leslie Prochaska and utility player Linsey Buendia were chosen to the NCAA Division III All-American first team. First baseman Heather Peters was a second-team choice and outfielder Dawn Lopez was a third-team selection. It was the second consecutive honor for Lopez. . . . UC Irvine women's tennis player Darian Chappell has been named to the national spring women's at-large academic third team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Previously, she was named to the District VIII academic team.
If you have an item or idea for the college report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at email@example.com