James Lathrop Goes Greek

Natalie Wapniarski, Staff Writer

Over the summer, coach and teacher James Lathrop assisted the Junior National 20 and under men’s water polo team in conquering the pools of Europe, finishing with a ninth place triumph. The team travelled to Montenegro and Greece, where they trained and competed in the Junior National competition.

When he’s not teaching history, Lathrop can be found at the pool coaching boys water polo. The last few weeks of summer, rather than spending his time on the Miramonte pool deck as head coach of the varsity team, he flew to Europe with the U20 Junior National team.

“I was personally looking forward to the experience of coaching at a junior national level. It is a great learning experience that will help me with my high school coaching during the school year,” said Lathrop.

Lathrop had high expectations for how the team would play. When it came to game time, Lathrop believes the team could have done better. They were put in a difficult bracket, therefore bumping down their ranks.

“We definitely could have done better. We were better than we were placed,” said Lathrop.

This being Lathrop’s first year as an assistant coach for the team, he got to observe and absorb the other coaching styles of his fellow staff members. Some staff members had previously coached for the Olympic team.

“It was exciting to coach at this level that was so intense and fun to see,” said Lathrop. Lathrop enjoyed being able to spend time with people who have such an intensity and love for water polo.

Although the Junior National team and the Miramonte varsity boys team are on very different levels, he explains that his coaching style remains the same for both.

In both programs, the teams prepare for their sesasons in the same way. Both endure hard core training, including swimming and dry land workouts, for multiple weeks in order to be ready to go when the real season starts.

A big contributor to Lathrop’s exciting European experience was the chance to reconnect with Miramonte alum Jon Sibley. Lathrop had coached Sibley throughout his career and enjoyed working with him again.

“I loved coaching Jon,” said Lathrop. “It was fun to see him and watch him perform as well as he did.”

Lathrop hopes and plans to continue to coach the Junior National team next summer.