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U.s. Olympic Men’s Water Polo Team:

UCI represents well

WATER POLO: Bailey, Hutten, Merlo, Powers named to Olympic team; Mann of CdM is alternate.

June 30, 2008|By Steve Virgen

LOS ANGELES — Terry Schroeder, the first-year U.S. men’s water polo coach, stood at a podium at the Los Angeles Athletic Club Monday and talked about how the Americans went from being a long shot in February to medal contenders now heading into the Olympics.

Off to the side, four former UC Irvine standouts could relate to that rise. They’ve shown a similar ascension throughout their careers, which reached a high point of sorts Monday.

Ryan Bailey, Tim Hutten, Rick Merlo and Jeff Powers were hardly recruited coming out of high school, but they were taken in by UCI legendary coach Ted Newland, who developed the quartet into Olympic athletes. UCI head coach Marc Hunt has also contributed in the development.

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Monday at the L.A. Athletic Club, the four former Anteaters were named to the U.S. Olympic men’s water polo 13-player team that will play in the Beijing Olympics, opening against China, Aug. 10.

Bailey, a four-time All-American at UCI, was selected to his third consecutive U.S. Olympic team. Powers, an All-American in 2000 and 2002 with the Anteaters, is headed to the Olympics for the second straight time.

Hutten and Merlo, both All-Americans, will be making their Olympic debuts.

Two other former UCI All-Americans, Genai Kerr and Dreason Barry, competed for the U.S. men’s senior national team earlier this year, but did not make the final team.

So just how does UCI does it?

If you ask Newland the answer is simple, yet still makes up the essence of an American dream

“I have a philosophy,” Newland said. “Bottom line, it comes down to two things: self-discipline and self-motivation. If you haven’t got those, you’ll never be good … Life is about those two things.”

In Hutten’s bio for the U.S. water polo media guide, he lists Newland’s philosophy as his words to live by.

Truth is, Hutten’s kept those words in mind ever since he came out of Los Alamitos High.

“[Newland] was the only coach to recruit me out of high school,” said Hutten, who recently won the Peter J. Cutino award, college water polo’s version of the Heisman. “Irvine was pretty much my only choice, but it worked out really well for me.”

Merlo’s only reason for going to UCI?

“Because my brother went there,” said Merlo, who was an All-American at UCI in 2003 and 2004. “He’s the reason I’m here.”

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