Orinda Aquatics

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Orinda Aquatics Polar Bears
  Established   1983
  Head Coaches   Ron Heidary, Don Heidary
  Team Manager   Bev Lathrope
  Sponsors   Nike, NorCal Swim Shop
  Board Members   Greg Thurman, Mark Watson, Andrew Ward, Rich Schlenker
  Website   orindaaquatics.org

Orinda Aquatics (OAPB) is a year-round swimming program located in Moraga, California. The community program serves nearly 1,000 swimmers in the Lamorinda area including Orinda, Moraga, Lafayette, and the surrounding areas. It is a non-profit organization directed at all levels of swimming and dedicated to the maximum development of each swimmer as an athlete and as an individual. Orinda Aquatics has approximately 115 year-round swimmers, 30+ College swimmers, over 550 Fall (summer-recreational) swimmers, 125 high school pre-season swimmers, and swimmers who participate in its spring clinics. In addition, it has a Masters program for swimmers who are ages 19 and up.

Orinda Aquatics has won Junior Nationals, Long Course Sectionals, Far Westerns, and the Pacific Swimming Age-Group Championships. The team has developed or trained over ten Olympic Trial swimmers and developed over 100 National level or High School All-American swimmers. Additionally, and perhaps the team's most significant accomplishment is that over ninety percent of its graduating swimmers go on to swim in collegiate programs. The team recently achieved a Silver Medal Recognition, ranking 34th in the nation last year (among over 8,500 teams) in the USA Swimming Club Excellence program. The home of Orinda Aquatics is the Soda Aquatic Center at Campolindo High School in Moraga, CA.

Recent Meets[edit]

Swimmers Sean Haufler (left) and Dustin Luchini (right) compete in the 100 meter breaststroke at the 2006 Long Course Junior Olympics (JOs)

San Diego President's Day Classic[edit]

During President's Day weekend, 2007, Orinda Aquatics sent 50 high school athletes to compete in the San Diego Imperial President's Day Classic hosted by North Coast Aquatics. Having placed third during the 2006 competition behind the Mexico national team and the host team NCA, Orinda Aquatics as a whole swam above expectations and won the meet by over 100 points. At the meet, two Miramonte High School alums made guest appearances: Kris Kao and Geoff Honda.[1]

Short Course Sectionals (Bakersfield, CA)[edit]

Orinda Aquatics also sent 12 swimmers from the Senior 3 group to Long Beach, CA to compete in the Speedo Champions Series California-Nevada Spring Championships.

North Coast Championships (CIF)[edit]

The high school season concluded on May 18–19, 2007 with the NCS championships. Orinda Aquatic swimmers were among the swimmers on several high school teams placing in the top 8. In the boys division, Campolindo High School placed first overall. Other boys teams with OA swimmers; San Ramon High School-3rd, Miramonte High School-5th and De La Salle-8th. In the women's, Orinda Aquatic swimmers were represented on 2nd Place finisher Carondelet High School, Las Lomas High School-3rd, Campolindo-4th and Monte Vista High School-5th.[2]

Training Groups[edit]

Orinda Aquatics has three training groups. The junior group, coached by Matt Ehrenberger, is a training group for pre-high school athletes. Junior group swimmers usually practice between 3 and 6 times a week, and emphasize technique and moderate training. Steven Stumph, who joined Orinda Aquatics junior group during the fall of 2006, after only a few months of year-round training, quickly boosted himself into the top rankings in the nation in the breakstroke and individual medley events. The senior group, composed of high school swimmers from Miramonte High School, Campolindo High School, De La Salle High School, Acalanes High School, John Swett High School, and others is Orinda's second training group. It is split into two sub-training groups, the senior 1/2 group, and the senior 3/4 group. Athletes from the senior 1/2 training group may be moved to the senior 3/4 group if s/he shows intense focus and dedication to the sport. Athletes in the senior 3 group should progress from California-Nevada Sectional time standards on to national level swimming. In addition to being focused, mature, technically proficient, and dedicated to training, every swimmer in this group is expected to attend each team meet and practice (nine a week), and act with the utmost integrity on a daily basis.

The "John Dorr" Effect[edit]

John Dorr competes at an international swim meet in Switzerland

World class IM and breaststroke swimmer John Dorr trained with Orinda Aquatics from 2006 to 2007. A 2006 UC Berkeley graduate and Lafayette citizen, John is ranked as one of the top 20 swimmers in the nation, finaling in the 2005 NCAA Swimming Championships in the 200 IM and 400 IM.[3] John, with his positive attitude and work ethic, has been a great role model for the younger high school swimmers, notably Dustin Luchini. John focuses his energy on mental toughness and pure strength. In addition, his speed has lifted Orinda Aquatics to new heights in competition, leading the team to victory at the 2007 San Diego-Imperial President's Day Senior Swimming Classic . In over a dozen competitive races, John won his event in all but one race, where he was outtouched in the 100 breaststroke by one hundredth of a second. Dorr also represented Orinda Aquatics at the 2007 National Swimming Spring Championships in New York. He competed in the 100 meter breaststroke and the 200 meter individual medley. In the 100 breaststroke, John placed 5th with a time of 1:04.37, and in the 200 IM, he placed 4th with a time of 2:04.92. For both events, his times qualified him for the 2008 Olympic Trials.[4] In April 2007, John Dorr left Orinda Aquatics to train at the University of Southern California under head coach Dave Salo. At USC, some of his training partners are Olympians Lenny Krayzelburg and Amanda Beard, as well as NCAA champion Oussama Mellouli.

2008 Olympic Trials Qualifiers[edit]

  • Lindsey Sharp (Washington)- 50 Free
  • Tyler Angelo (Notre Dame) - 200 meter Breaststroke
  • Katie Arnold (UCLA) - 100 meter Backstroke & 200 Meter Backstroke
  • Lauren Beaudreau (University of Richmond) - 200 meter Breaststroke, 200 meter IM & 400 meter IM
  • Zach Disbrow (West Point) - 100 meter Butterfly
  • John Dorr (UC Berkeley Alum) - 100 meter Breaststroke & 200 meter IM
  • Lindsey Hart (Harvard)-200 meter backstroke
  • Scott Lathrope (Stanford) - 400 meter IM & 200 meter Butterfly
  • Kim Vandenberg (UCLA Alum) - 50 meter Free, 100 meter Free, 200 meter Free, 100 meter Butterfly, 200 meter Butterfly and 200 meter IM
  • Heather White (UC Berkeley) - 200 meter Backstroke & 200 meter IM
  • Michael Sharf (UC Berkeley) - member of USA Water Polo Senior National Team

2007 FINA World Championships[edit]

Orinda Aquatics was represented by two swimmers in the 2007 FINA World Aquatics Championships. Peter Varellas (water polo) and Kim Vandenberg (swimming)both represented the United States in the world championships in Melbourne, Australia. According to the FINA world rankings, Vandenberg ended the 2006 season No. 6 in the world in the 200-meter butterfly, a position she solidified at the U.S. Summer Nationals in August. Peter, a Stanford graduate, has been playing international matches in Savona, Italy. The event took place from March 17-April 1, 2007.[6]

In Kim Vandenberg's trials race of the 200 meter butterfly, she qualified for 3rd place with a time of 2:08.63, behind Canada's Audrey Lacroix and Poland's Otylia Jędrzejczak, easily qualifying her for finals.[7]

In Kim's finals race of the 200 fly, she placed second and won the silver medal, behind the current world record holder in the event, Jessicah Schipper. Kim swam a lifetime best time- 2:06.71, narrowly defeating the defending Olympic champion, Otylia Jędrzejczak. Vandenberg's time of 2:06.71 is the third fastest all-time by an American woman. The top two, Misty Hyman and Mary T. Meagher were World record holders, Olympians and Olympic Gold Medalists.[8]

In water polo action, Stanford and Campolindo High Alum Peter Varellas was one of the key ingredients in team USA's success. Peter scored four goals in six games to help the United States to a 9th place finish and a 4-2 record. The team succeeded in holding off tough competition with wins over Australia (twice), South Africa, and Canada. Their only two losses came from 6th place finisher Germany, and a narrow 10-8 defeat to eventual World Champion Croatia.

Open Water[edit]

On October 1, 2006, four Orinda Aquatics swimmers participated in the RCP Tiburon Mile Swim. The RCP Tiburon Mile swim is an annual open water swim race that starts on Angel Island and ends on the ports of Tiburon. Rick Arnason of BEAR Swimming coached the Orinda Aquatics swimmers in order to prepare them for the event. The Tiburon Mile takes an abundance of mental strength, in order to finish. During the swim the water was measured at a chilling 55 degrees. Some other notable swimmers that participated in the event included: P.H. Mullen, Brooke Bennet, Klete Keller, Erik Vendt, and Chloe Sutton. The 2006 winner of the RCP Tiburon Mile was Vladimir Dyatchine who tackled the leader, Thomas Lurz on the beach side finish in order to win the prize money.[9]


Some Orinda Aquatics swimmers will be participating in the upcoming Triathlon in Moraga. The first annual Moraga Triathlon was held April 28, 2007. It is a sprint triathlon with a 400 meter swim, 14 mile bike ride and 5K run - starting at the Soda Aquatic Center. It inaugural event is a fun way to try a triathlon - and swimmers will be supporting the Soda Scoreboard Fund in the process. The Moraga Treeline Triathlon turned out to be a successful experience for Orinda Aquatic's Roger Ward, as he won the Men's 18 and under division.[10]

Inspirational Awards[edit]

Virginia Hall and Reagan Perry were two outstanding individuals on Orinda Aquatics. For their demonstration of unconditional friendship to Ron and Don Heidary and a selfless dedication to the sport of swimming, Ron, Don, and Orinda Aquatics created two inspirational awards: Virginia Hall (female) and Reagan Perry (male). These two awards are for one male and one female swimmer who most embodies unconditional commitment, integrity, and sportsmanship. The awards are given annually at the Orinda Aquatics Awards Banquet.

2006 Recipients[edit]

Male- Kristofer Kao (currently attending UCSD)

Female- Shelbi Luchini (a sophomore at Campolindo High School)


External links[edit]