A look at Cougar Water Polo through the ages


Great article detailing Ventura Water Polo teams victory over Beuna High Schools team and this articles subject Mitch Dooleys scoring of five goals in the game. Photo by David Jaffe

Garrett Jaffe

This is the first of three articles interviewing three different generations of VHS water polo players ranging from 1980 to present

The sport of Water Polo came to prominence in 1900, becoming the first team sport to be added to the Olympics. Water Polo has been and still remains a popular sport at Ventura  High School.

Mitch Dooley,  a VHS Alumni who graduated in 1982, a water polo team captain in 1982, and a 1982 Channel League MVP; he was asked a couple questions about his time playing water polo at VHS from 1980-1982.

Me: Ok, I have a few questions: so what made you want to do water polo?

Mitch: I grew up playing football, baseball and basketball. But when I got to high school I knew I wasn’t big enough to play those sports. But, I still wanted to play a high school sport. So, I thought I’d give water polo a try.

Me: What was your favorite part about playing water polo?

Mitch: My favorite part of high school water polo was the friendships  that I made and still have to this day. We were a close team. We ate breakfast and lunch together every day either at “our” table or on the senior lawn.

Me: What was the deal with hazing back then?

Mitch: Hazing was a big part of water polo in my sophomore year.  It was known by the teachers and administrators and yet it was still allowed. My class was the class that stopped the hazing, which I was proud of.

Me: Do you have any good memories or defining things you would want to say about your time playing?

Mitch: My best memory was probably the game where we scored 5 unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to beat Buena 10-9. At their pool in front of a rowdy crowd. We hated Buena and it was a sweet victory for us and so great to see them hang their heads in defeat.  We threw coach Hahn into the pool to celebrate!

Terrific article describing VHS Alumni and veteran Cougar Water Polo player Mitch Dooleys being named 1982 Channel League MVP.