On Saturday, Head Coach of Andover Girls Water Polo Dan O’Shea led his team to its second New England Title in three years. Before O’Shea arrived at Andover, the team had not won a Championship in 13 years.
O’Shea’s water-polo career began at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. Initially joining the team simply out of social pressure, O’Shea quickly found himself addicted to the chaos and physicality of water polo.
After high school, O’Shea decided to play water polo competitively throughout his college career at DIII Connecticut College.
The transition was hard for O’Shea, as the main purpose of the water polo team at St. John’s was to groom a core of strong swimmers for the swim team, rather than to develop strong water-polo skills.
During Shea’s third year at Connecticut College, his work rate and productivity exploded.
O’Shea said, “My game awareness improved, I started scoring goals more regularly and really began to understand the game. The team [started] also becoming more competitive, playing matches against teams in California [the ‘Mecca’ for water polo in the U.S.].”
Beyond his newfound talent on his school team, O’Shea also began playing for a club team. Run by top-notch coaches from Brown University, the club solidified Shea’s love for water polo.
With the experience of club and interscholastic water polo teams, O’Shea graduated from college excited to continue his water-polo career.
O’Shea currently plays competitively for the Boston Wet Sox, a U.S. water-polo masters program based in Newton, Massachusetts. He expects to play in two tournaments this summer, one in New York City and the other in Montreal, Canada.
O’Shea has also harnessed his career as a player and channeled it into coaching swimming and water polo. After graduate school, O’Shea coached at the YMCA in Waltham, Massachusetts. O’Shea later helped found a master’s swim program along with a U.S. Swimming Team.
He then went on to form his own water-polo team in Waltham. Following this stint, O’Shea was hired to become Head Swim Coach at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
O’Shea has also coached at the Technique Swim Academy at Harvard and will coach for the New England Blue Waves swim team in Newton this upcoming summer.
While O’Shea enjoyed coaching swimming at Babson College, his main interest remained with water polo. When a coaching vacancy in Girls Water Polo opened at Andover, O’Shea immediately jumped on the offer.
“The idea of getting to coach my own team in a supportive environment full of dedicated athletes was way too tempting to let fall by the wayside,” said O’Shea.
O’Shea made an immediate impact at Andover, winning New Englands in his first year as Head Coach. In 2013, Andover returned to the tournament and placed second.
This year, Andover took home the Championship once again, pulling ahead of Choate in the last 30 seconds to win 8-7.
With Andover on a hot Championship streak, the hope is O’Shea will remain here for years to come.