Olympic Development Program Travels to Hungary


Photo by Henry Engs

Luke Lewis, Staff Writer

Henry Engs ‘24 never dreamed he’d be traveling thousands of miles across the world to Hungary for water polo. 

Engs, a member of the varsity water polo team, attended a tournament in Hungary with the United States Water Polo Olympic Development Programs (ODP) in August. The Olympic Development Program is a team that contains some of America’s top youth water polo players. Engs and Ben Forer ‘24 both tried out for the team in May. They practiced every Sunday throughout the summer preparing for their trip.  

Though the trip was centered around water polo, Engs and his teammates enjoyed the culture and food of Hungary. “The best part was being there with my friends and having the opportunity to play water polo and see the country of Hungary,” Engs said. 

The Hungarian style is very physical and quick-moving. “The most challenging part was adapting to the new play style that the Hungarian kids played,” Engs said. Adapting to this change posed a challenge because the American style is slower-moving and focuses more on getting the ball to the player in front of the cage, otherwise known as the center.  

 The ODP team played against the Hungarian national team, a very physical and fast team that made it hard to score. “I think the most challenging aspect was to play against the very experienced and older players on the Hungarian teams. The level of aggression and skill was mind-blowing at first, but our team strove to overcome it,” Forer, a Northgate High School student and member of the ODP team, said. 

Scott Andron, an ODP coach for the 18U team, enjoys the water polo program because it betters athletes and provides them with everlasting opportunities. “ODP places athletes outside their comfort zone, forcing adaptations in pursuit of a growth mindset, often through failure. Once an athlete has gone through ODP they know what it takes to succeed at the highest level of their sport,” Andron said. 

Forer and Engs learned important lessons, like how to be more physical and quick in the water, that they now can use at home. As they flew over the beautiful city of Budapest, they reflected on the trip and daydreamed about the next destination water polo would take them.