Friday, March 17, 2017

New Head Coach Announced!!

Dear Parents, Students, Alumni, Fans:

For the last couple of years I had been personally struggling with the growing burden of a feeling that as much as I loved coaching, the time was coming that I needed to step away from the water polo program.  I had become stretched so thin between two businesses and my kids were getting older.  The program however continued to grow and succeed.  We were highly organized and I had tremendous help from parents and our coaches, but even so I felt as though I was beginning to drown and was struggling to keep up with the demands of running a popular and successful program like ours had become.  I had one major concern.  If I was to step down...Would we lose the momentum so many of us coaches and players had worked so hard to attain?  Our water polo program had truly become a family with so much history and great traditions, what would happen to this?  It couldn't be someone from outside.  An outsider might know water polo and love coaching kids, but they would not have any idea of the magic that has occurred in this program.  Who would continue this tradition?

Well, the answers to these questions and fears I had were answered...

It is with great excitement that I announce the hiring of Graham Evans as Head Coach of Carmel High School Water Polo.   I could not be leaving this program in better hands than Graham's!!! 

Coach Evans is first and foremost a Carmel High School alumni, but he has been a dedicated assistant for this program for over 10 years along with a few years coaching the girls program.  He becomes only the 7th head coach since Jim Agan started our program in 1968.  In those 49 years of Carmel High Water Polo, 4 out of the total 6 previous head coaches (including myself) coached 46 of those 49 total years.  6 of the 7 head coaches are Carmel High School Alumni (including Graham).  That's consistency.  That's tradition.  

Graham has been a vital piece of our coaching staff for a long time.  He knows water polo and knows coaching.  Most importantly however, I can personally attest to the character of Graham Evans.  Graham is a man of integrity.  He is a man that loves his family and leads it well.  He cares about kids and loves coaching water polo.  I have no doubt that he will employ all these great attributes and more as he dives head first into his new role as Head Coach.

With much love and gratitude in my heart (and some tears in my eyes)... I am officially "passing the torch" to Graham Evans.  I am genuinely excited to see what the next chapter has for this great program.  Under Graham's watchful eye and leadership, I am confident it will continue to thrive, succeed and most importantly continue to be an environment for personal growth, mentoring, and character building for the hardworking boys in our program.

Go Padres!!


Aaron Gaily
Head Coach (1999, 2003-2016)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Put in Work or maybe get left behind...

Dear Players and Parents:

The Carmel High Water Polo Program is still currently in transition as the District will be interviewing candidates for head coach for the 2017 season.   

In the meanwhile I am currently still involved with Legacy Water Polo Club as a board member and am actively trying to prep the Carmel High program to transition well and not skip a beat when the new coach comes in.  Part of that is making sure our boys are doing everything they can to improve during the offseason.  

We are super excited to add Gary Figueroa to Legacy as "Aquatics Director".  Gary is developing and overseeing the growth and development of our age group offerings, instruction as well as coach training.  

It is very important that you work on your craft during the offseason.  Your better believe your competition is!  

We hope that you are swimming with the high school team this spring as swim speed and endurance is extremely important to improving as a water polo player.  

We do however have many kids that play other sports in the spring instead of swimming and that is ok.  If you do, please take advantage of Legacy's new "Sunday" afternoon practice option during the spring.  It will be guided and controlled scrimmaging mainly and will be a great way to learn, improve, stay in shape and have fun, even if you're currently playing baseball, lacrosse, etc.

I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the programs that Legacy has to offer.  Please follow this link, Sign up.  Just do it :)

Junior Olympics and Summer Legacy are right around the corner.  

Once again...If you want to be a great water polo player...If you want to help your team win...Then you MUST put work into improving OUTSIDE OF THE REGULAR SEASON!  This league is too competitive to expect that you will be able to show up in August, not having played or swam since the previous season and expect to compete with Soquel, Santa Cruz, Salinas, etc.  

Carmel High teams of the past that won championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014...They put in the work and committed.  Champions are made in practice.  Get plugged in with Legacy at and put in the work.  


Aaron Gaily

Monday, January 23, 2017

Scholarship Opportunity

Our local master's water polo club, Otter Bay, generously offers a yearly scholarship to local water polo players.  I encourage you to apply.  Last year's winner was none other than our own "Jack Jack" Maughan.  Here is the information.  Much thanks to the club members at Otter Bay.  Very cool!

Water polo scholarships for 2017

Dear Coach,
The Otter Bay Water Polo Foundation is pleased to announce that we are offering two $1000 water polo scholarships for 2017!  We will select one male and one female as recipients of this award.

Please have your student athletes provide the following information:

1. Water polo experience
2. Academic information
3. Community service and/or volunteer information
4. Picture and bio including an essay on the topic: "How Water Polo Has Improved My Life"

Applicants must be high school seniors who will be attending college (junior college or 4-year) this fall.   Applicants do not have to play water polo at the college level to be eligible for this award.

The timeline is as follows:

Applications due: April 21
Winners notified: May 5

Please submit this information in a document or video via email to:

Friday, December 2, 2016

Few extra videos left

If you had emailed me and signed up for a video and forgot to grab one or pay at the banquet, please let me know.

Also, I have a few extra videos left.  If some of you had wanted to purchase one, but forgot.  Please email me at

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Coach Gaily Farewell and Thank You

To the Carmel High School Water Polo Family:

Friday night at our end of the year banquet, marked my last moments as head coach of the Carmel High School Boys Water Polo Program.

My decision to step down as head coach was mine alone. Many know the juggling act that I perform during the fall water polo season each year with a growing family and a busy chiropractic practice. Over the last few years I had really begun to realize how quickly the time with my kids in our home was passing. I want to enjoy every minute with them that I can. It was still an incredibly difficult decision for me and my family because coaching has become such a big part of our lives. Plus, I still loved coaching! So, one chapter ends and a new one begins. As sad as it has been for me to step down, there is also growing excitement for me and what the future brings. Coaching has made me a better father, a better husband, and a better man. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I had to lead this program for so long.

To be quite honest, I am still struggling to process it all. The “send off” that I received at our post season banquet last week was so touching. I cannot thank those in attendance enough. The gracious kind words of love and support, standing ovations, all the hugs and tears were truly overwhelming. I continue to receive emails, texts and phone calls from kids I’ve coached in the past and their family members. Hearing the impact their experience in CHS polo has had in their lives is truly humbling and fulfilling at the same time.

The farewell memory video that was put together by Ande Parker with the help of so many current players and alumni is something I will cherish the rest of my life. It brought tears to my eyes. As a coach, sometimes when you’re in the middle of it for so long, you wonder and often ask yourself, “has this been worth the sacrifice?” “Are we making a difference with these kids?” These past few weeks and especially on Friday night, I got my answer and it has felt really good. The outpouring of love and support from so many current players, alumni, and families has filled my heart to capacity and then some.

I’d like to also thank Mr. Jim Agan (the founder of our wonderful program in 1968) and Ed Sigourney (my high school coach and who I took over from) for speaking on my behalf at the banquet. The words they spoke were humbling and so appreciated.

I wanted to conclude my farewell as head coach by recapping where we started and what we have accomplished as a program.

I have been so graciously honored and praised as head coach and for the success our program has had, BUT I cannot take all the credit. Absolutely not. The success of this program has been such a beautiful coordinated effort by so many. It was always intended to be a group effort from day 1. Our accomplishments should be shared by ALL that bought in and contributed. The vision I had was not only mine, it was cooperatively shared by all my coaches (Pete, Rodger, Graham, Frank, Carl, Jake, Brett). It could not have happened without the group effort that occurred year in and year out. This includes the parents. We needed help from the parents, welcomed them in and wow did they deliver. From our first “program chair”, Lois Dew, to Kim Stemler, to Betsy Conron, to Lori Luch, to Kira Whitaker, the parents were crucial to the success of this movement. I applaud ALL for your contributions to what has transpired these past 15 years!

I coached the varsity for one season in 1999 as a 21 year college graduate. I loved it! I was fully hooked, but had 4 more years of graduate school to complete first. I returned in 2003, coached the JV for one season and then in 2004 I took over as head coach. Upon taking over as head coach I set out to accomplish a few primary objectives for our program. I knew I could not do this alone as I was starting my family and my career at the same time. Early on I enlisted the help of Ed Sigourney (who stayed on and coached the JV for a number of years and helped me start the freshman team), Pete Dew (Assistant), Graham Evans (Assistant/Goalie Coach), Rodger Langland (Assistant/admin/facilities). We later added Carl Hertlein (Freshman and JV coach who took over when Ed stepped down), assistants Frank Reynolds and Sean Vienna. Jake Rianda later came on to coach the freshman after former players Dustin Hunt and Nate Cohen had done the job for a year each. There were other shorter term assistants which I will mention later.

Our Goals:

1) Create positive memories for a lifetime

I wanted to help create an athletic experience that each boy would remember for the rest of their lives. Something they could truly be proud of. I had visions of these boys being able to tell their kids wonderful stories of hard fought battles in the pool, intense physical training during Hell Week, and what it was like to be committed to a team family. I dreamed that they would use that experience as a tool when they began coaching their own kids teams some day.

2) A) Teach and Promote Character above all
B) Create Culture

A) Character:

I wanted to create a culture in our program that was dedicated at it’s core in teaching, embodying, and reinforcing character growth and development. Water polo is a sport parallels life in so many ways. It has the power to shape young minds and bodies like no other. We made every effort we could to underscore everything we taught and valued with a “WHY”. We wanted our kids to understand WHAT we were teaching, WHY we were teaching it and HOW to implement not just in the pool but outside it as well. We hoped the parallels to life that we drew would positively impact their school work, their friendships, their immediate families, their future families, their careers, etc.
Mr. Agan (our program’s founder) once told me of a player he had coached back in the 70’s who went on to an illustrious career in the military. Years later he told Mr. Agan that his experience playing water polo at CHS was what he called a “force multiplier” in his life. I absolutely loved that! I wanted all our kids to be able to look back at their experience and the things they learned and be able to enact them as a “force multiplier” in whatever challenge or obstacle they may be facing.

B) Culture:

I wanted to create a culture that was built upon a few things. Character as I described before, but I wanted our program and the successes that would come be built upon hard work and commitment to team. I wanted a culture where kids learned that working hard and pursuing consistent improvement could be fun! Of course we had lots of goofy and fun times, but the foundation of the program would be built upon hard work and rewarding kids based upon their effort and commitment.
I also wanted this culture to be one that honored it’s past (alumni) and it’s future (underclassmen). I wanted a culture where the underclassmen honored the upperclassmen and alumni not simply because they were older and perhaps better players, but because those upperclassmen and alumni had shown those younger generations the utmost of respect. I wanted upperclassmen to be integral in the welcoming, teaching, helping and encouraging those on the lower teams. I wanted a “pay it forward, but also pay it backward” mentality that was shared by all.
One of my proudest achievements is that we have had so many alumni want to return and coach. In any given week during the season one could see an alum either with a whistle on as a full time assistant, one that was in the water helping with certain kids on a day they were in town, or simply just stopping by to say hello and share a hug with their coaches. Full time alumni coaches that graduated from our program are Craig Gonzales, Ian Hagn, Dustin Hunt, Jakub Kristl, Chimay Skinner, Nate Cohen, Brett Luch, and Jake Rianda. Countless others have contributed with a few days here and there to help when they were in town, past players like Zack Olivas, Sam Sunde, Ben Price, Jay Louis, Brady Hopkins, Chase Motley, are just to name a few. We have had three fathers of past players want to share in the vision and help coach. Pete Dew, Rodger Langland, and John Perkins had boys play and graduate from our program years ago. Each stayed on as valuable assistants years after there boys were gone.

3) Be Competitive. Create a Standard of Winning:

I remember joking with Coach Pete early on, “all this character building and mentoring is gonna get old real quick if we don’t start winning more”. Our focus from the get go was to do our very best in building this program to be as successful as we could be in the competitive arena of our local league, but also beyond in the Central Coast Section (CCS). We wanted our teams to be competitive year in and year out regardless of whether we had a lot of talent that particular year. We still competed in a league of schools that outsized us by substantial numbers like Live Oak, Salinas, San Benito, Gilroy, basically everybody except Stevenson. We also trained in a substandard shallow bottomed pool at the time. We committed early on that neither of those issues would ever be allowed as excuses. We had to figure out how to move around and through those obstacles. In my first year, we had a few disgruntled parents when I made the decision to fundraise and rent the pool at Monterey Peninsula College so that we could train in deep water. This meant practices would begin at 7pm and ended at 9pm, as that was the only time the pool was available. We had multiple kids each year who lived deep in Carmel Valley and down in Big Sur that would regularly get home around 10pm. It was a significant sacrifice for all, but even more for those who lived at the outer reaches of our district. The sacrifice was worth it as our play as a program began to rise on all levels very quickly. Thankfully this scenario lasted only a few years.
A few years later, due to a tremendous group of people led by Ed Sigourney, Merrie Potter, Rodger Langland, Meredith Manhard, The Rianda family, and others, we had a beautiful “state of the art” pool built at Carmel High. It was a labor of love for so many and that facility truly opened the door even wider for our water polo program to grow to even greater heights. This effort will benefit youth in our community for many years to come on so many levels.
Carmel had not won a league title since 1979. We set that as our first target. It took us a little while, but we won our first league championship in 2010, our first in 31 years. We were very proud. That initial “championship swim” when the kids tossed us coaches in the pool felt amazing and was special for all of us. The very next year our league would change dramatically. Our current league agreed to absorb the Santa Cruz league. With that merger we inherited new competition on top of our current competition we had worked so hard to reach the top of. Soquel High School had not lost a league game nearly 20 years and had not lost the league championship in about the same amount of time. But, with much hard work and belief, in 2012 and in heroic fashion, a group of underdogs defeated the mighty Soquel in triple overtime for a share of the title. Again in 2014, a group of even bigger underdogs beat a talent laden Soquel in the league championship game for a share of the title, our third championship in that 5 year span.
Our secondary goal on the competitive side of things was to be a consistent presence in the CCS playoffs. Carmel had qualified for the CCS playoffs a couple times during the 80’s, a few more times during the 90’s, but it had been since 1998 the last time Carmel High had qualified for CCS. We aimed to change that. We got back to the playoffs in 2006. Then again in 2007. Missed in 2008, but qualified again in 2009 which began our string of consecutive CCS berths in ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16.

In conclusion, again I share this so that ALL who contributed (there were many) can be proud of the improvement and difference we all helped achieve.

I am so thankful and was so very blessed to have had this opportunity to coach and lead this program for these last 15 years.

Thank you all for the love and support you have shown my family and I.

Go Padres!!!!


Coach Aaron Gaily
(1999, 2003-2016)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

All League and All CCS selections announced!

We are proud of each one of our players and the efforts they put forth this season.  Whether you were a Frosh, JV or Varsity team member, we pushed you to the limit and you met those demands and it showed!

These few players listed below took it to even higher level.  Most of their achievements can be attributed to the year round dedication to the sport through Legacy.

All CCS Selections:

1st Team Division 2:  Kevan Auger
2nd Team Division 2: Leo Gonzales-Smith
Honorable Mention Division 2:  Parker Fisher

All CCS Team (All Divisions) Honorable Mention: Kevan Auger

All CCS All Star Team Selections:  Kevan Auger, Leo Gonzales-Smith (Alternate)
(*CCS All Stars will play NCS All Stars at Soda Aquatic Center, Dec. 11, 1:30pm)

Monterey Bay League All League Selections:

1st Team:  Kevan Auger
1st Team:  Leo Gonzales-Smith
1st Team:  Parker Fisher

2nd Team:  Carter Whitaker
2nd Team:  Max House
2nd Team:  Parker "Forest" White

Richard Chamberlain Sportsmanship Award:  Parker Fisher

Thursday, November 10, 2016

2016 Commemorative Video Purchase and Ken Doo Photo Purchase

Order your 2016 Video and Purchase Action Prints!

We are trying to get an idea of how many copies of our 2016 commemorative video to produce.  This is a wonderful fundraiser!  You get to keep the video and the program gets to make some money.

The vision is that each kid has a video for every year he plays for CHS.  Someday something to show his kids!

Please email by 11-16-16, indicate in email how many copies you'd like.

Cost: $20 each

Ken Doo Photography
One of our other great fundraisers is purchasing "Action Shots" from Ken Doo.  He graciously donates the proceeds back to the program.  I encourage you to go on and purchase some at