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Islander makes U.S. Water Polo Junior National Team
Outside California, high school water polo rarely makes waves. But Mercer Island High School junior Eugene Chong was again honored with an opportunity on July 19 to compete internationally with the U.S. Water Polo Junior National Team.
It is Chong’s third selection to the national team through the Olympic Development Program (ODP). After years of training and testing in three selection camps, the Islander was accepted on the traveling squad of 13 players and is one of only two players outside California. As the youngest member on the roster, Chong is one of only two 11th-graders on the squad. He will also be the first player from the Pacific Northwest to get the opportunity to compete in the FINA World Junior Men’s Water Polo Championship.
Locally, the Islander plays a leading role on the Mercer Island High School water polo team and plays for United Water Polo Club in his spare time. His coach at UWPC, Tim Reed, has served as assistant head coach for the Junior National Team since 2004.
The Junior National Team traveling squad began its journey in Los Alamitos, Calif., on Aug. 5 and competed against Division I programs University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount University, including former Islanders Kyle Sterling and Charlie Horton. The team then traveled to Europe on Aug. 10 and set up camp in Montenegro, where the team is currently in preparation for the FINA World Junior Men’s Water Polo Championship held on Aug. 22-30 in Split, Croatia.