Water Polo Programs Well Represented at World Championships
On the men's side, ex-Cal athletes include Chris Humbert (1988-91), Chris Oeding (1989-92) and Gavin Arroyo (1990-93). On the women's side, Cal representatives included Maureen O'Toole--currently the head coach of the Bears women's water polo team, current Cal senior Alisa von Hartitzsch; and former Cal athletes Courtney Johnson (1996), Lynn Wittstock (1985) and Maggi Kelly (1987).
At the 1998 World Championships, the USA men finished 4-4 and placed seventh out of 16 countries (behind Spain, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Australia, Italy and Russia). The Americans lost 7-6 to host Australia; defeated Slovakia, 8-5; defeated Canada, 10-1; lost to Greece, 3-2; lost to Spain, 5-4; defeated Brazil, 13-5; lost to Italy, 10-8 in overtime and defeated Greece, 8-4. Scoring for the Cal athletes in the eight matches included 13 goals for Humbert, 10 goals for Oeding and five goals for Arroyo.
The USA women finished 2-5-1 in the World Championships and placed eighth out of 12 countries (behind Italy, The Netherlands, Australia, Russia, Greece, Canada and Hungary). Team USA lost to Russia, 10-4; upset host Australia, 9-7; lost to Canada, 3-2; tied Brazil, 7-7; crushed New Zealand, 14-4; lost to The Netherlands, 9-5; lost to Greece, 10-9 and lost to Hungary, 10-7. Scoring for Golden Bears in the eight matches included nine goals for O'Toole, six goals for Wittstock, five goals for Johnson, five goals for Kelly and two goals for von Hartitzsch.
Chris Humbert and Lynn Wittstock had the honor of carrying the American flags Jan. 7 for the United States' swimmers, divers, synchonized swimmers and water polo players during the Opening Ceremony of the Eighth World Swimming Championships. Wittstock, 35, a resident of Berkeley, is co-captain of the USA Team and is competing in her fourth FINA World Championship.
Humbert, 28, is widely reguarded as the best center forward water polo player in the world. Eurowaterpolo Magazine voted him the outstanding player in both the Atlanta Olympics and the 1997 FINA World Cup, where the United States won the title. 1998 marks Humbert's third FINA World Championship.