Boys water polo: New head coach Jerome Chung guides team to great start

September 20, 2019 — by Jonathan Li

The boys’ varsity water polo team failed to qualify for CCS last year after finishing 4-10. This year, however, the team has managed to start strong, having won 11-5 against Half Moon Bay on Aug. 28, 16-8 against Monta Vista on Sept. 12, 9-5 against Lynbrook on Sept. 17 and 13-9 against Milpitas on Sept. 19. They lost 15-14 to Santa Clara on Sept. 10 in a breathtakingly close double overtime match. 

Although there have been several valuable additions to the varsity team, including sophomores Kendal Jarvis, Byron Jin, Chris Wu and Jaime Fernandez de Ponte, members of the team gave a lot of credit for their early success to their new head coach, Jerome Chung.

Before coaching here, Chung coached the Lynbrook High School freshman boys’ water polo team, varsity boys’ water polo team and JV and varsity girls’ water polo teams for 15 years, during which Lynbrook won several league championships. Chung also coaches at NorCal, a club water polo team, and has coached at DACA and West Valley, where his teams qualified for the Junior Olympics and placed among the top 100 teams in the U.S. three years in a row. 

In 2016, Chung began coaching the SHS girls’ varsity water polo team and helped them finish first in the El Camino league last year, and then proceeded to Division 2 CCS, falling to Menlo Park High School in the championships. 

Chung began coaching the boys’ team this season.

“I hope to create an exciting environment for the boys as well as a program the parents will continue to support,” Chung said. 

The change he brought was exciting — Chung implemented more rigorous training and started conditioning practices in early August, nearly a month before the season started. Every day, athletes would have to run a mile, swim nearly two miles and do a multitude of other exercises, including pushups and squats.

“It was exhausting,” sophomore Daniel Jiang said. “Water polo is an extremely aggressive sport, so coach was pushing us to our limits all the time.”

Though physically demanding, Chung’s strict training regimens paid off so far.

“The team was balanced and willing to work hard [last year],” sophomore Marcus Kuo said. He said the difference this year has been Chung’s skilled coaching.

Senior sprinter Grant Chen said Chung’s coaching style is effective but not the easiest for each player.

“For the team, it’s a good thing,” Chen said. “Personally, I think his coaching is a little restrictive. He does the decision-making for you, but it produces results and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.”