Dennis Riedmiller steps up to coach Camarillo boys’ water polo team

David Urrea glides in the pool.
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A photograph of the 2002-03 Camarillo High girls’ water polo team hangs in the aquatics office.

Dennis Riedmiller stands in the center of the Scorpions’ group shot. Yes, that’s the same Riedmiller who coached the school’s football team from 2003 to 2012.

“People have forgotten that I’m more than just a football coach,” said Riedmiller, who was the girls’ water polo head coach in 2002 and 2003. “I put up the team photo to let the guys know I can coach water polo, too.”

Riedmiller returned to the pool deck this fall to guide the Camarillo boys’ water polo squad.

The Scorpions didn’t have a head coach five games into the season, so Riedmiller stepped up.

Riedmiller, a special needs teacher on campus, led the Scorpion girls to back-to-back Pacific View League titles.

“I wanted to help out,” the coach said. “I wanted them to get through the season and have fun.”

“I was surprised how much water polo (Riedmiller) knew,” senior set defender Coby Wiegman said. “He put us back on track and provided structure.”

Camarillo captured a Pacific View League crown last fall, but the team has struggled in the Coastal Canyon League this season.

The Scorpions, winless in league action, remain positive and optimistic for a strong finish.

“This team has a lot of fight,” senior captain Steven DeStefano said. “We’re not going to cruise to the end of the season. We’re going to keep competing and set the tone for next year’s team.”

Camarillo faces Moorpark on Oct. 29 at home before wrapping up the regular season on Nov. 5 at Royal.

The Scorpions have a lot to smile about this season. The team finally got to host games on campus after Camarillo opened a $4.5-million aquatics center in February. The pool sits above the football stadium with a picturesque backdrop of the Camarillo Springs mountain range.

“It’s a thing of beauty,” Riedmiller said. “This is one of the best pools around.”

For many seasons, the Scorpions held practices and home matches at Rio Mesa High. Before the Spartans had a pool, Camarillo trained at Freedom Park near the airport.

“It’s such a nice feeling to practice right after school and not get on a bus,” DeStefano said. “It wasn’t fun waiting for Rio Mesa to end practice. We waited in a classroom for two hours with nothing to do.”

DeStefano is an explosive playmaker who is one of the top goal-scorers on the team.

Occidental College has expressed interest in DeStefano, who plays for the Moorpark Sharks club team.

George King, a senior captain and hole-set, thrives in counterattacks.

“He’s the perfect teammate,” Riedmiller said. “George does all the right things in and out of the pool. He’s a competitor, a motivator and great student. Having him on the team makes everyone better.”

An honors student, King competes in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races during the swim season.

Wiegman is an athletic attacker in the pool. He wants to play at Ventura College next season and eventually transfer to the University of Hawaii.

Marcus Stebbings and Harrison Mello are promising sophomores.

“There’s a lot of young talent on the team,” King said. “We’re not having the best year, but I can make sure to help the younger players grow.”

Griffin D’Inca, Steven Fadden, Bryson Lund, Ali Akbar Mohsenian, Tyler Nguyen, Brandon Pillado, Michael Rodriguez, Kolbe Rueter, Joseph Swindle, Chase Templeton, Cole Meyer, David Urrea and Trent Westlake contribute for the Scorpions.

Riedmiller, who graduated from Camarillo in 1975, has also coached basketball, baseball and track and field.

“I’m a football guy, but I know how to motivate student-athletes,” Riedmiller said. “I believe I was put on earth to teach kids with special needs and coach. I’m having a great time being by the pool.”

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