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Olympic water polo player returns to coaching position


Pierce College instructor and former Olympian  Moriah Van Norman has returned to replace her sister as the head coach for the women’s water polo team.

Van Norman is a full-time english as a second language(ESL) instructor at Pierce College who just recently returned to coach the women’s water polo team in place of her sister, Sarah, who will teach English in Japan.

“I teach a really diverse community,” Van Norman said.

Van Norman was an All-American for USC and was honored with the Peter J. Cuttino award for best collegiate water polo player. After college, Van Norman would start on the U.S. Olympic team, leading team USA to the silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

“I went to the Olympics in 2008 for water polo and I love the sport and it’s allowed me to make friends all over the world,” Van Norman said.

According to captain and utility Sierra Marroquin, Van Norman’s type of coaching is hard on her players, but it is because she cares about the team.

“Any opportunity you get to be coached by an Olympian is like the best thing,” Marroquin said.

Van Norman says that both she and her sister’s coaching style is very structured and disciplined so that players are expected to work hard and play hard.

“I think we have the same philosophy when it comes to coaching,” Van Norman said.

According to Van Norman her coaching philosophy may have changed a little bit when she became a mother and finds herself parenting more than coaching sometimes.

“I coach now the way I want my daughters to be coached,” Van Norman said.

As an Olympian, a coach, a teacher and parent she has a lot of advice to give, according to captain and set defender Regina Agopian.

“I always trust her because I know they’re doing this so we’ll be great women leaders in the future,” Agopian said.

Practices for the women’s team are just an obstacle and a preparation for what is to come in life, Van Norman said.

“We want young women to go out and do great things,” Van Norman said.

According to Van Norman one thing she wants players to learn is that “every experience no matter how good or how bad is a learning one.”

“Her thing is that we try hard and we work hard and that influences everything I do,” said captain and utility Sarah Karp.

Van Norman said that she would love to get students that have a swim or water polo background at Pierce College to try out for the team.

“I really want the Pierce College students to feel like they can attain this, to be on the team here,” Van Norman said.