Saturday, July 29, 2000
The Punahou graduate wasBy Cindy Luis
the last player selected for
the U.S. water polo team
Sean Kern has spent half of his life playing water polo.
Yesterday, all that time in the pool paid off for the Punahou School graduate. Kern was officially named to the U.S. Olympic men's water polo team that will compete in Sydney in September.
"I'm just thrilled to have made the team,'' Kern said. "It's something I've worked very hard for but it's never a given.''
Kern was the final player chosen for the roster by coach John Vargas. His roommate, Ryan Flynn, was one of two alternates named yesterday.
"It was a good news, bad news day,'' said Flynn. "I'm happy for Sean but I am disappointed for me.''
The 22-year-old Kern, a 2-meter man, led UCLA to the NCAA national title last fall. The two-time all-America received the Peter Cutino Award in January as the top collegiate water polo player.
Kern began playing the sport at Punahou at age 11. He and the rest of the U.S. team will leave Los Angeles tomorrow for Europe where they will compete in two pre-Olympic international tournaments.
Kern's mother, Nancy, said getting the news from her son was the best birthday present she had ever received.
"I'm having the best birthday ever,'' Nancy Kern said yesterday.
"Sean called Thursday but said the rest of the team wasn't going to find out until (Friday).
"He's worked really hard for this. It was a long road to get to this point. It was a lot of hard work and dedication.''
Sean Kern is the third water polo player with Hawaii ties who will be in Sydney. Former Olympian Chris Duplanty of Honolulu is an assistant with the U.S. women's team that includes University of Hawaii graduate Maureen O'Toole on the roster.