Making Waves in Dallas: Jacksonville Water Polo Club Stars Shine at Olympic Development Program Super Regionals

JACKSONVILLE, FL — Friday, January 21, 2024 — Three standout members of the Jacksonville Water Polo Club demonstrated their skill and dedication at the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program (ODP) Super Regional Tournament held in Dallas, TX from January 12-14th.

The talented trio, Alex Torres, John Erdal, and Sawyer Weakland, showcased their prowess on three separate Southeast Zone Super Regional Teams during the three-day tournament. Alex and John played integral roles on the Development Blue and Red teams, respectively, while Sawyer contributed her skills to the Youth Red team. Each team participated in four thrilling games against zones from across the country, with all three players making notable contributions to their respective teams.

Alex Torres, a 12-year-old student at Landon Middle School, and John Erdal, an 11-year-old attending Pine Island Academy, both excelled as attackers. Sawyer Weakland, a 17-year-old student at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, demonstrated her attacking prowess for the Youth Red team. Impressively, all three players scored multiple goals for their respective teams during the tournament.

Sawyer Weakland, in her second selection for the Southeast Zone team, shared her experience, stating, "Playing as part of the Southeast Zone team has opened up doors to play with clubs from NYC, North Carolina, and beyond. It allowed me to compete at much higher levels, including the Super Futures Tournament in San Francisco, CA."

Alex Torres reflected on the value of the ODP experience, saying, "ODP was a great way for me to meet players from other teams and develop new friendships. I also loved playing against top-level players from around the country. It allowed me to see a higher level of competition and different playing styles."

John Erdal added, "The thing I loved most about my ODP experience was being able to travel and play against people I've never participated against. It was an exciting event with a lot of players and fans."

This impressive showing at the Southeast Zone ODP Super Regional not only highlights the skill of these young athletes but also brings attention to the growing sport of water polo in Jacksonville and across the country. Coach Manny Torres believes that as awareness of water polo increases in the community, more families will be inspired to have their children try this exciting and dynamic sport. With the 2024 Olympics approaching, interest in water polo is expected to surge, presenting an excellent opportunity for Jacksonville to develop a robust water polo program. 

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