The Peninsula High School boys water polo program landed an experienced coach this year.
Carter Gilmore, a 2003 graduate of PHS, recently took over the program. He previously coached the Western Washington University club water polo team from 2008 to 2011. While transitioning to the high-school game might seem like a step down, Gilmore said he’s just happy to be coaching.
“For me, it’s not really about the level of coaching,” he said. “I just wanted to get back into coaching. I went to Peninsula and grew up here. I wanted to get back into coaching — that’s what brought me back. … It feels good to be back at the high-school level.”
Gilmore played water polo all four years when he was a student at Peninsula. While coaching at Western was a higher level, it shared some similarities with the PHS gig.
“A lot of the kids in college, we had quite a few who had never played water polo before,” Gilmore said. “So that’s pretty similar. In college, most of the players hadn’t played before. It’s a different type of coaching. I like both aspects. We have quite a few kids who know what they’re doing.”
At Western, Gilmore said he learned how to coach kids of different skill levels at the same time. Whether they were seasoned veterans or learning the basics, Gilmore works to string everyone along together.
“I’m coaching them together but giving them specifics for their skill level,” Gilmore said. “I had that same experience at Western.”
The team has experienced some growing pains, predictably, including a 25-7 loss to Gig Harbor. But Gilmore said he just wants to see improvement.
“It’s going pretty well,” he said. “This is going to be a building year. We didn’t get as many guys out as we would’ve liked. But they’re coming together as a team. All the guys are having fun. To me, it’s about building them as a team. Winning isn’t as important. It’s about learning how to be coachable and working together to have fun.”