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Weyburn coach named Sask Water Polo’s Coach of the Year

Dave Edgerton's dedication to kids in water polo club leads to provincial award

WEYBURN – Dave Edgerton, president of the Weyburn Hurricanes water polo club, was named the Coach of the Year for the Saskatchewan Water Polo Association.

The Edgerton family was the only one from Weyburn to go up to the annual banquet for the provincial association recently, and they had no idea beforehand of the announcement made from the podium that Dave would receive the award as Coach of the Year.

“It was a little bit humbling, and it was a complete surprise, I had no idea I’d be named coach of the year,” he said. “It was a great feeling.”

He and his family moved to Weyburn in 2008 from Edmonton, and their children, Rumina and Ruslan, were enrolled in water polo at the ages of seven and nine respectively.

“We became active in the club, helping out and going to tournaments, working with the kids,” he explained, noting he became a board member and eventually was the vice-president for the club.

He didn’t do coaching at that point, but traveled with the club to matches and tournaments. Dave became involved with coaching about six years ago, working with the minis (ages five to nine) and the oldest group, athletes who are 13 and over.

Their children became more involved with Team Sask as they progressed through the years, at one point getting driven to Regina four times a week to practice with the provincial level teams.

“It was a lot of miles, but it paid off. They managed to go to nationals a few times. Team Sask is probably the most winning team in all of Canada, lots of medalists, always at national finals,” said Dave.

Meantime, he took on the role as head coach for the past couple of years, overseeing all of the coaches at the different age levels.

“My philosophy is not to be winningest coach. I think it’s more about the dedication I have to coaching younger kids. In the past, other coaches who’ve won this award had success with teams, like bringing a senior team to a gold medal. That’s not really my focus,” he said.

“Why am I the winning coach this year? My big thing is every person who joins our club has certain abilities, some more than others, and every one can have their small successes. So we work with kids who may have confidence issues, maybe they don’t like being in the pool or have good swimming technique,” he said.

“We’ll work with that. It’s about working with each swimmer so they can be the best they can be,” he added. “We work through each challenge, whether it’s swimming or working in a team environment. My philosophy is I stand behind all of the players in the club.”

Dave had two examples of his coaching work. His first example was a seven-year-old boy whose parents had enrolled him into water polo, but he was afraid of the water.

“I worked with him one on one, and now he’s one of my best players.”

His second example was a mixed team he coached at a tournament. The players didn’t know each other, but for the last two games, they talked to each other about different team strategies.

“It all came together, and those guys were so pleased and happy with that performance. It made the whole tournament. That was more important than the whole tournament, and to me, that’s a win,” said Dave. “It’s not about me, it’s about working with the kids.”

His two children went on with water polo, with Ruslan ending up winning a gold medal before retiring as a player, and Rumina, who’s now 20, is in her second year of playing professional water polo with a team in Malhouse, France.

Dave noted he was never a water polo player, but his big sport was fencing, and was a captain of the fencing team at Carleton University.

“What I carried forward was the coaching aspect. I had a very good coach at Carleton. He was all about working with people and pushing them a little bit, and team camaraderie,” he said, and the example of that coach helped Dave form his own philosophy of coaching.

With older players, his main focus is whether the athlete is coachable and willing to take some criticism.

“These are the things that are really important for me,” he said.

He is currently president of the Weyburn Hurricanes water polo club, but noted he’s willing to hand that off to continue working as the head coach. He is also the vice-president of the Silver Seals speed swimming club, and he’s a Level 3 certified referee for swimming, taking care of the technical aspects of swimming meets.

The Hurricanes season will be starting up as soon as the indoor pool is open, on Sept. 13, and it will run to the end of March.