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Kern Premier water polo begins preparing for Junior Olympics

The 12u mixed team took 9th place in the nation in 2023
Posted at 12:44 PM, Mar 15, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Houston Tiner and Andres Campos played on the 12u mixed team that took 9th place at the Junior Olympics last summer, and now they hope to rank higher in this year's upcoming Junior Olympics.

  • Video shows the Kern Premier water polo team practicing for Junior Olympics
  • The 12u team has now moved up to 14u, and both Campos and Tiner hope to see their team rank higher than 9th in their next competitions.

The Kern Premier water polo team is making a splash across the nation after taking 9th place in the Junior Olympics last summer.
Now, they’re putting in hours at the pool to prepare for their next competition.

The Kern Premier Water Polo team went into the Junior Olympics last summer hoping to swim laps around their competition, and they did just when they came home ranked 9th in the U.S.

“For me, it was like… I’m a junior olympian, and getting ninth was so cool,” Houston Tiner, one of the players, said.

“Yea, dream come true,” Andres Campos, another player added.

Both boys played on the 12U team that took the victory, making this the first team with Kern Premier to rank that high in Junior Olympics.

That victory shocked Victoria Pickn one of the girls on the team.

“It was very surprising because there were so many very very close games,” Pickn said.

Pickn plays goalie and remembers feeling intimidated when she saw the other teams warming up.

“They looked so strong like when they were just practicing they were throwing it so hard, and I’m like ‘Oh, God. I’m probably going to get hit in the face.”

And now it’s time for the athletes to start training to do it again.

“You never want to train too close to a game or anything," Grayden Reynolds, the head coach said. "You know, I played in college and stuff and we always started training four months before season, and so I think it’s a good time to start getting the kids out and getting them into water polo shape.”

He says they’re beginning by focusing on basic skills and systems.

In May, they’ll hit conditioning and return to skills and systems in June.

All that training comes at a cost for these athletes and their parents, and Campos adds he’s grateful for his parent’s support.

"I really want to appreciate our parents that we have that take us to these tournaments that spend the money on gas and food and hotel money, which they’re really doing this for us, and I appreciate that.”

While it’s not as expensive as other sports that need a lot of equipment, Diane Tiner, the club manager says the costs can add up.

“One tournament and monthly dues could be about $300ish dollars, but that doesn’t count your gasoline to travel or your hotel if it’s an overnight," Tiner said.

Tiner tells me because water polo isn’t a well-known sport, they have small teams and have to travel to competitions to play against teams with more experience.

The 12u team has now moved up to 14u, and both Campos and Tiner hope to see their team rank higher than 9th in their next competitions.

“You gotta get good to be good,” Tiner said.

“Yea," Campos said. "You gotta get good to be good.”

You can find more information about how you can join or support Kern Premier water polo here.

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