ONEONTA, N.Y. -- First-year Hartwick College water polo assistant coach Ryan Castle will pilot the Kazakhstan Women’s National Water Polo Team this summer at the 2011 FINA World Championship in Shanghai, China. The announcement came late last week as Castle emerged from a large applicant pool filled with international candidates. He will spend the next two months in Eastern Europe and Asia, culminating with the championships from July 16-31.
"What a great opportunity for Ryan," said Hartwick head coach Alan Huckins. "It will be a challenge taking over a team that has been out of the international spotlight, but he is a solid coach and will do a good job. With Ryan’s affiliation to Hartwick, it can only help in recruiting and spreading the Hartwick College name worldwide."
Castle’s tenure begins next Monday as the Kazakhstani team travels to Kirishi, Russia for the Kirishi Cup from May 30 to June 4. Following training camp in Eger, Hungary for the next 16 days, the team relocates to Almaty, Kazakhstan from June 21 to July 8 for additional training and participation in the National League Tournament.
At the FINA Championships, Kazakhstan competes in preliminary round in Group A and faces Hungary on July 17, the Netherlands on July 19, and the United States on July 21.
"This is an exciting opportunity to coach at the international level," said Castle. "Kazakhstan has a rich water polo history including participating at the 2000 & 2004 Olympic Games, and it is an honor to be a part of that tradition. Being able to coach at a World Championship is a rare opportunity and one that I couldn’t say no to."
Kazakhstan has previously qualified for the FINA World Championship six times. The Kazakhstanis finished 12th in both 1994 and 1998, 13th in both 2003 and 2007 and 14th in 2009. The team earned its highest finish in 2001, placing 8th.
Castle, who helped lead Hartwick’s water polo team to a 26-11 record and its 10th straight season with at least 25 wins, previously coached for three seasons at Arizona State University as the Sun Devils’ top women’s assistant and head men’s club coach. He boasts an extensive coaching background at the club, high school, college and international levels.
Castle will be joined at the World Championship by five Hartwick alums and one current student-athlete. Sophie Smith (2005) and Bronwen Knox (2005-06) will represent the Australian National Team, Barbara Amaro (2006-09) and Marina Zablith (2007) will suit up for Brazil, and Kirsten Hudson (2007-10) will play for her native New Zealand in the tournament. Current Hartwick sophomore Jemma Dendy Young will represent South Africa.
Release courtesy Hartwick Athletic Communications