Former Olympian hopes to lead the women’s water polo team to victory

Story by Victoria Rowe and Photos by Alyssa Vega

Head coach Chris Oeding discusses the next play during their time out at their game held on Wednesday.

Few coaches at the city college level bring the experience that an Olympic player and coach can bring for their teams.

LBCC Vikings’ water polo coach Chris Oeding is one of them.

Current head coach for the women’s water polo team and former Olympian Chris Oeding.

Oeding grew up in Orange County where he played water polo in high school, he later earned an athletic scholarship to continue his athletic and academic career at the University of California, Berkeley.

After graduating from Berkeley, Oeding hoped to continue his water polo career at the Olympic level when he began training with the national team and they won their first world championships in 1993 and 1994.

Oeding attended his first Olympic Games as a competitor in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia with the national team and in 2000, Oeding led the national team in the Sydney Olympics as team captain.

Coach Oeding started as a full-time assistant coach with Dan Klatt and head coach Adam Krikorian at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 for the women’s water polo team.

Shortly after arriving in Rio for the first game, Krikorian received news that his brother had passed away.

Krikorian flew home to be with his family while Oeding and Klatt assumed responsibility for the team until Krikorian returned just in time for the first Olympic game.

After the Sydney games, Oeding applied for a job coaching the water polo team at LBCC and has been coaching here ever since.

“Coaching the Olympic team was a fantastic experience,” Oeding said.  “I love my job and the athletes I get to work with, not only to coach the woman that were apart of the national team, but also to be able to work with the other coaches gave me new perspective.”

As an assistant coach for the Olympic team, Oeding said head coach Krikorian involved the assistant coaches as much as possible and balanced the coaching between all three coaches.

Coach Oeding said his job as assistant Olympic team coach was to support not only the team but also the head coach.

“A lot of that burden of being at the Olympic Games is put on the head coach so I felt that my job was to help give some balance to the situation and provide an environment where Krikorian could be his best and where the athletes could be their best,” Oeding said.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn from a great mentor and one of the best coaches in the country,” said assistant coach Bradley Adamson.

Assistant coach Djoko Radunovic said, “It’s an honor and a privilege to be working with a coach that has so much experience, we’re in a position to learn a lot from him.”

“I think it’s so cool to be working with a coach that has had so much experience in the water polo community, it really helps our team do better and it gives us a reason to work even harder,” said goalkeeper for the Viking women’s water polo team captain Cami Owens.

The Viking water polo team are excited to be working with Oeding and what he will bring to help the team this season.