GET TO KNOW OUR COACHES

All Santa Monica Water Polo Club coaches have international or collegiate water polo playing experience. Each coach also has experience coaching elementary school, middle school or high school water polo. These two factors enable Santa Monica Water Polo Club to offer the highest standard of coaching in Los Angeles.

KARL NIEHAUS
Karl started playing water polo in 1992 and by 1997 was representing his junior national team. By 1998, Karl was representing his senior national team in international tournaments. In 2001, he was recruited to Los Angeles to play for Pepperdine University. Karl excelled under legendary coach Terry Schroeder and helped Pepperdine finish as the 3rd best team in the nation. Karl’s performances led to individual All-American water polo honors. Karl currently plays club water polo for Sharks with former college and national team players (#1 Ranked masters water polo club in the nation).

Karl started coaching boys high school water polo in 1998 under former Yugoslavian international – Vlado Trininic. Over the course for 4 years, Karl’s 3 age group teams were dominant, winning 22 of 28 national tournament entered. Karl started coaching at Santa Monica High School in 2003, developing several college water polo players.

CHRISTIAN PULIDO
A USA Jr. and Sr. National Team member from 2003 to 2010, Christian has trained extensively as both a player and coach. Christian graduated from UCLA in 2007, winning an NCAA Championship in 2004. After graduating Christian played professionally with Catalonian water polo team Santa Eulalia. Christian returned to Europe’s water polo league to played professionally with SS Lazio Roma in 2010.

Christian has coached youth water polo for the Bishops School and San Diego Shores while pursuing his graduate degree in screenwriting from UCLA. After coaching the Bishops Knights to a CIF championship in 2008, Christian accepted a coaching position at Stanford University where he was assistant coach to John Vargas. Christian also worked with US National Team assistant coach, Robert Lynn, coaching youth water polo at LA water polo from 2010 and leaving in 2011 to represent his home country of Mexico at the Pan-American games.

SPENCER HAMBY
Spencer started playing water polo at high school in 2005 playing on the high school Varsity team for 3 years. In 2006 & 2007 Spencer made the US Cadet National Team, winning gold in the Youth Pan Ams in the Dominican Republic in 2007. Spencer was selected for the US junior National team in 2008, winning gold in the Junior Pan Ams the same year. In 2009 & 2011 Spencer competed at the Junior World Championship in Croatia & Greece respectively for the US Junior National team. His performances led to recruitment from Pepperdine University, where Spencer was selected NCAA Div 1 All American.

Spencer’s coaching experience includes youth teams and college club water polo.

ANDREW MILCOVICH
Andrew started playing water polo in the 7th Grade in 2001. He was selected for the USA National Age Group Team in 2002 and was on the USA Developmental, Cadet, Youth and Junior National Teams respectively each year from 2002-2007. Andrew has represented the USA National team in 9 international tournaments, being selected for the All-Tournament Team status in 8 of them, and was team USA’s leading scorer on the Youth and Junior teams. In high school, was a 3-time High School All-American at De La Salle High School. In 2006, Andrews was selected NCS CIF MVP and County Player of the Year. In 2007, Andrew won JO’s with Lamorinda and was named MVP of the 18u division. Andrew was recruited to top programs such as Pepperdine, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC. Andrew chose to play for Pepperdine, where he was selected NCAA Div 1 All-American.

Andrew’s coaching experience includes summer camps at Pepperdine for the 5 years. He also coached U12 & U14 club water polo for the Concord Donkeys.

JP MACDONELL
JP MacDonell is a professional water polo player in Europe. At Pepperdine University JP was a 4 year starter and led the team with goals scored all 4 years. JP was a member of the Junior National Team in 2008 which finished 6th place in Junior World Championships. JP was also a member of the 2009 and 2011 Summer University Games Team. JP has competed with the Men’s Senior National Team I have competed in 3 Tournaments.

JP has coached throughout his water polo career, as well as running water polo camps through his high-school program as well as Pepperdine University.

WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ
William started playing water polo at age 10 and has been a regular of his national water polo team since 1996. He was the youngest player to be selected for the Puerto Rican senior water polo team (1997). He has represented his country in 2 world championships, and competed in the Junior Water Polo World Championships in 1997 against fellow coach Karl Niehaus. William still represents his national water polo team and is the current top scorer. William continues to play club water polo with Sharks.

William has coached swimming and water polo since 2000. He was the youngest Division I coach in the country at Pepperdine University starting in 2006. With William’s guidance, Pepperdine finished as the 2nd best water polo university in the Nation in 2008. In 2011 William coached USC to a NCAA Div 1 title.