Fundraising is among the many duties for the coach of a club team such as water polo

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Barlow High water polo coach directs his players in the pool during last years state tournament. Once Michael Riegelmann started playing water polo in his freshman year of high school, he couldn't get enough of it.

"Water polo is very contagious. Once you play, it gets in your blood," Riegelmann said. "It's not like other sports. You can play soccer or baseball just about anywhere. With water polo, you have to have a pool. That's the only way that you can practice or play."

After graduating in 2004, Riegelmann moved back to Gresham to be an assistant coach at Barlow, specializing in training goalies early on in his coaching career. Riegelmann remained an assistant for over a decade before taking over the head coaching position in 2016 for both the boys and girls varsity programs.

One of the difficult tasks of being in charge of a club sport, like water polo, is that the team has to raise their own money. The Barlow water polo program is unfunded by the school district and is required to raise $10,000 every season in order to have a team.

Whether it be organizing bottle drops, or having parents run concession stands, Riegelmann appreciates the support that he is able to get.

"Fundraising is a little tedious, but we have great parents who support the program in many different ways. Gresham is a fairly supportive community. If you have been here a long time, you get to know a lot of people who want to help you," Riegelmann said.

Look for the full story in our Aug. 9, print edition.

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