Masters water polo returns to Santa Clarita Valley
The Masters water polo group meets weekly at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center. Photo courtesy Tony Brown.
By Ryan Posner
Friday, January 26th, 2018

Santa Clarita resident Tony Brown has a knack for starting programs.

In 1986, he helped create the swimming team at Saint Francis High School in Crescenta Valley. A year later, he launched the school’s water polo team.

Brown went on to play water polo at Loyola Marymount in the late 1990s and has remained involved with the game.

In May of last year, Brown relaunched the Santa Clarita Valley Masters water polo program after a nearly three-year hiatus.

Brown, along with men and women ranging from their 20s to their early 60s, meet once a week at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center for exhibition games.

“When I moved to Santa Clarita in 2013, I realized there weren’t any types of water polo programs out here,” Brown said. “It’s one of those sports where you can play it your entire life. I wanted to find a way to get people involved with the game because I love it so much and there are such nice facilities out here.”

Brown began canvassing for people to join the games using mobile apps like “Nextdoor” and flyers throughout the aquatic center. He even reigned in a player who was serving him at Mimi’s Cafe, explaining to Brown how he used to play in Europe.

MORE: New, co-ed flag football program accepting new players and coaches

“The biggest thing is that we’re playing for fun, so we encourage people to come out and not be intimidated if they’re newbies to the sport,” Brown said. “The people who we have at the games are so welcoming and come from all walks of life.”

On a good week, Brown gets 16 players to attend. From there, they break out into a full court six-on-six game, not including goalies, with each team carrying a substitute. During the summer, getting 16 players for a full game isn’t usually a problem. During the fall and winter, the numbers tend to fluctuate.

“We really need just about 1-2 more players to be able to play a full-court game on a consistent basis and then, hopefully, we can add more games,” Brown said. “I feel like there are definitely people around town who may have had to go to like Crespi or (Bishop) Alemany to play water polo in high school but are still looking for ways to stay with the game.”

The end goal for Brown is to send teams to Masters tournaments throughout the country and eventually the Masters Nationals. He has enough players in his current group to play in tournaments for certain age groups but is seeking more depth.

Brown’s hoping to enter tournaments by the end of this year.

“We have a pretty solid core in our 40-plus age group,” Brown said, “But we’re definitely looking for some people in the 20-25 age group to round us out.”

The games are at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center and all that’s required to join a game is $5. Pete Leporchio, who coaches water polo at LA Valley College and initially started the Masters program in Santa Clarita before it disbanded three years ago, serves as a mentor and sometimes referee at the games.

Brown, who also works as the CEO of the Heart of Los Angeles charity in Downtown LA, encourages people who have swimming backgrounds to come join the games, even if they’ve never played water polo.

“I had a couple of my swimming friends come out and play with us when we first started up,” Brown said. “Some of them couldn’t hang, but most of them caught the bug and are back every week. We’re competitive, but it really is all about having fun first.”

About the author

Ryan Posner

Ryan Posner

The Masters water polo group meets weekly at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center. Photo courtesy Tony Brown.

Masters water polo returns to Santa Clarita Valley

Santa Clarita resident Tony Brown has a knack for starting programs.

In 1986, he helped create the swimming team at Saint Francis High School in Crescenta Valley. A year later, he launched the school’s water polo team.

Brown went on to play water polo at Loyola Marymount in the late 1990s and has remained involved with the game.

In May of last year, Brown relaunched the Santa Clarita Valley Masters water polo program after a nearly three-year hiatus.

Brown, along with men and women ranging from their 20s to their early 60s, meet once a week at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center for exhibition games.

“When I moved to Santa Clarita in 2013, I realized there weren’t any types of water polo programs out here,” Brown said. “It’s one of those sports where you can play it your entire life. I wanted to find a way to get people involved with the game because I love it so much and there are such nice facilities out here.”

Brown began canvassing for people to join the games using mobile apps like “Nextdoor” and flyers throughout the aquatic center. He even reigned in a player who was serving him at Mimi’s Cafe, explaining to Brown how he used to play in Europe.

MORE: New, co-ed flag football program accepting new players and coaches

“The biggest thing is that we’re playing for fun, so we encourage people to come out and not be intimidated if they’re newbies to the sport,” Brown said. “The people who we have at the games are so welcoming and come from all walks of life.”

On a good week, Brown gets 16 players to attend. From there, they break out into a full court six-on-six game, not including goalies, with each team carrying a substitute. During the summer, getting 16 players for a full game isn’t usually a problem. During the fall and winter, the numbers tend to fluctuate.

“We really need just about 1-2 more players to be able to play a full-court game on a consistent basis and then, hopefully, we can add more games,” Brown said. “I feel like there are definitely people around town who may have had to go to like Crespi or (Bishop) Alemany to play water polo in high school but are still looking for ways to stay with the game.”

The end goal for Brown is to send teams to Masters tournaments throughout the country and eventually the Masters Nationals. He has enough players in his current group to play in tournaments for certain age groups but is seeking more depth.

Brown’s hoping to enter tournaments by the end of this year.

“We have a pretty solid core in our 40-plus age group,” Brown said, “But we’re definitely looking for some people in the 20-25 age group to round us out.”

The games are at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center and all that’s required to join a game is $5. Pete Leporchio, who coaches water polo at LA Valley College and initially started the Masters program in Santa Clarita before it disbanded three years ago, serves as a mentor and sometimes referee at the games.

Brown, who also works as the CEO of the Heart of Los Angeles charity in Downtown LA, encourages people who have swimming backgrounds to come join the games, even if they’ve never played water polo.

“I had a couple of my swimming friends come out and play with us when we first started up,” Brown said. “Some of them couldn’t hang, but most of them caught the bug and are back every week. We’re competitive, but it really is all about having fun first.”

Upcoming Events

Jan
12
Fri
all-day Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Jan 12 – May 11 all-day
Domes - Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Local resident Naomi Young, is the artist featured in the latest exhibit at the Old Town Newhall Library. The exhibit features original paintings and multimedia by Young, an artist born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel,[...]
Feb
1
Thu
all-day “The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
Feb 1 – Jun 1 all-day
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarita,” Art Exhibit @ Valencia Library  | Santa Clarita | California | United States
“THE GOLDEN OAKS OF SANTA CLARITA” ART EXHIBIT BY BRAD SERGI ON DISPLAY AT THE VALENCIA LIBRARY Library hours: Mon-Thu 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 5[...]
Feb
14
Wed
all-day Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Feb 14 – May 12 all-day
Tickets Available Now for 41st Annual SCV Dodger Day @ Dodger Stadium | Los Angeles | California | United States
SANTA CLARITA DODGER DAY TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Tickets Start at $25 and Benefit Local Schools and Non-Profits It’s time to step up to the plate! The Santa Clarita City Council invites residents to purchase[...]
Apr
19
Thu
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 19 – Apr 22 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
Apr
20
Fri
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
7:00 pm Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Apr 20 @ 7:00 pm
Hart High School Presents 'Bye, Bye Birdie' @ Hart High school Auditorium | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Spring Musical Coming April 2018! Hart High Theatre is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie! April 19, 20, 27 & 28 @ 7pm April 28 & 29 @ 1pm When the draft selects rock star[...]
Apr
21
Sat
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 21 – Apr 24 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
10:00 am Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
The Local Group Astronomy Club and The Santa Clarita Public Library present our free annual Astronomy Day Celebration. We will be at the Valencia branch of the Santa Clarita Public Library from 10am to 3pm.[...]
10:00 am Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Resource Parents Needed to Foster or Foster-Adopt a Child @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222 | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting.  There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.  Los Angeles County’s foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with[...]
10:00 am The City of Lancaster’s 27th Ann... @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park
The City of Lancaster’s 27th Ann... @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The City of Lancaster’s 27th Annual California Poppy Festival, Sat & Sun @ Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park | Lancaster | California | United States
On April 21 and 22, the City of Lancaster will host the 27th annual California Poppy Festival™ at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park (43063 10th Street West). Drawing more than 40,000 attendees and spanning 35[...]