YMCA of Greenwich Water Polo Team Wins North American Haba Waba Tournament in Montreal

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The Greenwich Aquatics 12u water polo team won the inaugural North American Haba Waba tournament held recently in Montreal, Canada. Haba Waba is an acronym for “Happy Water Ball”; an apt description for exuberant local team.The original Haba Waba, held annually in Italy, is the most visible international water polo tournament for young children. The first North American version attracted 15 teams, ranging as far as Vancouver and Mexico City. Greenwich Aquatics went undefeated (10-0) during the tournament, even when challenged by a physically tough Kraken team from Mexico in the first half of the championship game, pulling away 15-5.

Jack Holl, JP Ohl and Gavin West led the scoring for the team, which is coached by Ulmis Iordache and assisted by Jamie Wolff. Robert Bergbaum, Jack Moore and Alex Plavoukos provided staunch defense and fast breaks throughout the tournament. The goalie, Danny Taylor had the tournament’s lowest goals-against average and contributed timely assists to the speedy Greenwich swimmers.

YMCA’s Greenwich Aquatics 12U Water Polo Team Celebrates after winning North American Haba Waba Tournament in Montreal

YMCA’s Greenwich Aquatics 12U Water Polo Team Celebrates after winning North American Haba Waba Tournament in Montreal. contributed photo

Dragan Jovanovic, the Director of Haba Waba and former head coach to the Canadian Olympic water polo team, predicts the festival to grow rapidly in coming years. Greenwich will forever be the prestigious tournament’s first North American Champion.

The Championship team was joined by a younger team from Greenwich Aquatics, composed of players from 8- to 12-years old. Fighting managed to fight through a number of injuries and ailments to finish in 5th place.

Luke Apostolides, Dawson Clark and Alessandro Portolano led the scoring, while Brandon O’Brien and Dado Soares played tough defense. Hayden Collins covered the net, saving dozens of shots. Connor Ohl and Ryan West, the two youngest players, proved able substitutes in the pool and superior conversationalists on the bench.

At the end of July, Greenwich Aquatics will send 10 teams to the National Junior Olympics in Orange County, California.