May 14, 2013
BERKELEY - Cal's women's water polo team has been selected to represent the United States at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia from July 6-17.
The Bears will send 13 of its current players overseas to compete against some of the best college-aged water polo players in the world. This is the first year USA Water Polo is sending a singular college team rather than a squad made up of players from varying institutions.
"To represent your country is a huge deal," said Cal coach Richard Corso, who coached Team USA's men's water polo team in the 1996 Summer Olympics. "It's not only a great trip for training and competition, but it gives a chance for the young players to play at a very important tournament. In my mind, if you're an American, this is probably the third- or fourth-most important tournament in water polo. For us to be able to play in that kind of venue is fantastic."
The Bears will be joined by teams from seven other countries for the competition - Hungary, Austria, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Canada. Cal will begin play on July 6 against Hungary.
"It's a multi-sport competition, so it's like an Olympic Games," Corso said. "You get to see other sports. You get to meet other people from not only our country competing there, but from around the world."
Cal's women's water polo program had to raise its own funds for the trip. The Bears are doing so by using some money from their operating budget, gathering donations from friends of the program and leaving some of the expenses up to the student-athletes themselves. The program is also using the $12,000 it received last year for winning the Newmark Award, given annually to the Cal program with the most-improved cumulative GPA on campus.
"The competition is going to be real stiff," Corso said. "We're going there to compete and do the best we possibly can."