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Kinesiology Alumnus Leads Women's Youth National Water Polo Team to Gold Medal

USA Women's Youth National Water Polo team and coaches
Andrew Silva (back row, far right) and the USA Women's Youth National Water Polo Team following their gold medal victory in the
2014 UANA Junior Pan American Championship last summer.

 

Cal Poly alumnus Andrew Silva (B.A., Political Science, 2002; M.S., Kinesiology, 2010) picked up a gold medal last summer — as a coach. He helped lead the USA Women's Youth National Water Polo team to a first place finish in the 2014 Union Americana de Natacion Junior Pan American Championship.

"Winning was great. It was a great reward for the athletes," Silva said. "They worked tremendously hard. My fondest memory is the medal ceremony."

A San Luis Obispo native, Silva played water polo for San Luis High and went on to coach women's water polo at Division I Marist College in New York. Following a successful run at Marist that included a trip to the NCAA championship tournament in 2006, Silva decided to broaden his activities and teach as well as coach. He came back to Cal Poly for the master's degree he needed to make that transition.

He couldn't be happier with his decision. "I'm such an advocate for Cal Poly; it's difficult for me to express it," said Silva. "I saw the Learn by Doing mentality not only in the curriculum, but also in my professors. It made me a far more well-rounded coach than I was before I entered the program."

Now at Citrus Community College in Glendora, Calif., Silva fills a number of roles. He's the head coach for both women's water polo and women's swimming, as well as the aquatics director and a full-time faculty member in the Kinesiology Department.

"I was a community college student, and I really like working with students who didn't have the opportunity to immediately go to a four-year university but still want to earn a degree," Silva said. "They're in class because they want to be there, and I've found that to be extremely rewarding."

Silva's experience as a student and graduate assistant at Cal Poly still impacts his day-to-day life, whether he's considering how athletes learn motor skills while designing practice or setting team goals using sports psychology.

"I'm convinced that getting my master's and teaching at Cal Poly made me a better coach and professor," Silva said.

 

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