The GBHS water polo team played hard their last few games, just before the swim season began soon after. This year without a coach that’s usually beside the pool deck.
“This year’s swim team is composed of a majority of polo players that are a lot more focused on polo than swim, as is (Coach Andrew) Reego,” GBHS senior Connor MacDonald said. “So I think that (Coach John) Sherman found it hard to have him around. Also, I know that the two coaches did not meet eye to eye on coaching habits and philosophies.”
Despite Reego saying farewell to being a part of the swim team, he believes his “coaching career never ended at Granite Bay.”
“I was let go as the Granite Bay swim coach just recently, but my position as the Granite Bay water polo coach has not changed in the slightest,” Reego said.
Although he may have departed from the team due to differences in coaching styles, many water polo players have had a hard time saying their goodbyes.
“I think Reego is really important with the program,” MacDonald said. “I know he had a lot of special relationships with people on the team and they were really upset that he left.”
The departure was especially hard for MacDonald.
“I would spend upwards around five hours a day with him,” MacDonald said. “We carpool, play Frisbee, play soccer, play basketball and he gets in almost every day and stays after to shoot on me,” MacDonald said. “We went to a movie one time.”
With reference to the upset athletes, “there was actually a boycott of JV boys swimmers the day after he was fired. None of them showed up,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald says that he is “the most dedicated coach ever and he really cares about his players and not just winning titles. He’s younger so he’s a great dude to just talk with and play for.”
Senior Michael Plastino agrees like most players that “he is an incredibly hard worker, good motivator, caring and a role model,” Plastino said.
“It was unclear what the reasoning [of firing] behind it was.”
“Greatest coach I have ever experienced. I owe him everything. He works harder for us than every kid out there and he barely gets paid,” GBHS senior water polo player Nathan Ellinthorpe said. “He is the reason our water polo team is sending multiple kids to D1 and the reason why we won a section championship.”
As for the swim coaches thoughts, “Sherman won’t say anything about it. He just says it was time for the swim team and Reego to part ways,” Ellinthorpe said.
With Reego leaving his swim coaching in the past, Ellinthorpe says that it has affected his feelings towards the sport.
“It’s impacted (my) motivation to swim,” Ellinthorpe said.
With much reason for Reego leaving, his past experience and awards explain his legacy as a Granite Bay athlete, winning 5 NCAA championships at USC, and hosting professional water polo club tournaments, concluding to the reason why many water polo players had difficulty coping with his departure.
“I played Water Polo at Granite Bay for John MacLeane and swam for John Sherman… I was a two-time All-American and played for the Youth National Team my junior and senior year,” Reego said, “after graduating from USC, I began coaching for Granite Bay High School. In my now four years here, we swept the Section for swimming by winning Varsity Boys, Varsity Girls, JV Boys, and JV Girls for the first time in the history of the section in 2015,” Reego said, “ This past water polo season of 2016, my Varsity Boys won the Section Championship by beating Davis 8-6. We now have potentially seven of those senior athletes being recruited to play in college for water polo,” Reego said