February 7, 2013
Olympic star to coach area youth water polo club program

Four-time U.S. Olympian Heather Moody will join the Sacramento-based American River Water Polo Club starting March 1.

Moody, a two-time Olympian as a player and two-time assistant Olympic coach, will be the club's performance director, tasked with overseeing the coaching staff and providing instruction to the athletes, according to club founder and president Rafael Ruano.

American River WPC boys and girls 10-and-under through 18-and-under teams routinely compete at the highest levels of club competition. American River WPC also has a youth league program that involves more than 300 boys and girls, ages 5 to 13.

"This is an exciting day for American River Water Polo Club," Ruano said in a press release. "We have been hoping that the right opportunity would come to entice an elite coach to join our club, and we hit the jackpot with Heather."

Moody, one of the most accomplished water polo players in the sports' history, won silver and bronze medals in the Sydney and Athens Olympics. She also won two World Championship gold medals and was named USA Water Polo Player of the Year twice.

Moody has been an assistant U.S. Olympic coach twice for teams that earned silver in Beijing and gold last year in London.

Since 2010, Moody has been the head coach of the U.S. National Junior Women's Team. She also has coached at Long Beach State and Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach.

Moody will be reunited with Rachel Ruano, an ex-National Team and Olympic staff coach who worked with Moody leading up to the 2004 Olympics. Ruano oversees the girls programs for American River WPC.

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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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