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2015.10.28 22:13

Spencer dornin makes a splash with tsunami team On tuesday and thursday evenings, you will find spencer dornin lugging a bag of water polo balls around the jr.Swimming pool in bayview.You might recognize him if you're a water polo fan and caught him playing at uc berkeley a decade ago, or if you happened to be at the guardsmen 2009 charity auction of the city's most eligible bachelors to raise funds for at risk youth.Tsunami, a"Straight friendly gay and lesbian water polo team. "With his sandy colored hair and sheepish grin, he looks more surfer than clipboard carrier.It's not until he jumps into the water to give pointers on passing and shooting that you see the athlete who was once on the usa water polo national team.Not many adult water polo teams even have a coach, let alone one with dornin's resume.Raised by a surfing focused family in laguna beach(Orange county), Dornin took to water polo at a young age because he preferred the"Team aspect"Of the sport to the more singular pursuit of swimming.A standout player in high school, he was recruited by berkeley, where he became team captain and achieved all american status in 2001.He then went on to play on the national team and professionally in hungary, italy and australia before retiring in 2007.Now 31, he spends his hours out of the water as an associate at in san francisco, a market research firm.The tsunami water polo team was founded in 2001 as an offshoot of the lgbt tsunami swim team.Originally a predominantly gay team, the water polo team now has a"50/50 ratio of gay to straight players,"According to, a tsunami board member and player.The ages of members range from 20 to 50, the experience level from former college stars to those whose pool skills may have peaked using a kickboard.The team is a"Masters level"Club that regularly participates in open competitions against other masters teams.Dornin discovered the team in 2008, shortly after accepting a job in san francisco.While looking for an apartment, he spotted the ad for the tsunami coaching position on craigslist.He responded and soon after received a call from kqed radio's, a member of the team, asking him to interview.Within weeks, he was the new coach of a very different kind of team than the ones he was used to playing on and competing against.To encourage new players, dornin set up a"Fundamentals clinic"On thursdays where he provides one on one coaching.It's a challenging and difficult sport, one ramirez likens to"Wrestling in water. "Team president, a lawyer working in the city attorney's office, said there are many skills even experienced swimmers must master. "Even with a swimming background, it takes time to build up the endurance"Needed to excel in water polo, he explained.Sprinting, passing and shooting use completely different m, 28.Corbin is living proof of the"All backgrounds"Approach the team trumpets.Originally from south carolina, the graphic designer knew nothing about playing water polo until five years ago when he joined the team.He said, with a self deprecating laugh, that when dornin took over two years ago, the team"Went through a very quick growth. "Ramirez added,"The difference in playing is huge,"And pointed to several players who were just starting out when dornin arrived"Now playing with us regularly and participating in scrimmages. "The tsunami compete in tournaments all over the world, including the gay games and the international gay and lesbian aquatics tournament, coming up in honolulu.The team also hosts an annual tsunami de mayo tournament at the mlk pool.This year, the tournament was bigger than ever with 17 teams competing.Curran, 25, who lives in the mission and played water polo at usc, said it isn't the love of the sport, but the love of the people on the team that keeps her playing.Dornin said his job as a coach is a lot easier because of how supportive everyone is. "It's very unusual to come to a team where everyone is trying to help you and trying to get you involved. "He noted in particular that players don't ignore throwing to the weaker players and instead always show a real patience and willingness to teach. "I've never seen it anywhere else, especially not in sport,"He said.The coach, pacing the sidelines of the pool and yelling encouragement to his players, still relies on a few methods from his days of teaching at local high school and youth groups. Just like then,He said, it gives him a thrill when "People's eyes light up when they master a new concept or a new skill. ".
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