Nestled in Providence, Rhode Island is an Ivy League school that has traditionally been one of the strongest water polo programs on the East Coast. Brown once again returns a squad that will be a contender in the CWPA all season long. The Bears boast an outstanding one-two punch and a tremendous coach in Felix Mercado who has already earned three CWPA Northern Division Coach of the Year honors in his young coaching career.
Brown made an exciting hire in the offseason as you added former United States Olympic goalie Genai Kerr to your coaching staff. What has Genai brought to your squad?
Mercado: The biggest thing he has brought is a different approach to commitment and training. This is not to say that we didn’t train hard or weren’t committed. However, he brings an MPSF and National Team background. Genai is a positive, encouraging presence and it is great to have him here.
Brown recently lost to fellow CWPA Northern favorite St. Francis; however your squad is top-notch and should be a contender for both Northern Division and Eastern Championship hardware. What does Brown need to do to win those titles?
Mercado: If we are going to be a factor in both the North and in the East overall, we need more consistency. We have a small roster, probably one of the smallest at the Division I level. We need everyone to contribute. We made a lot of mistakes against St. Francis and they are too good of a team not to convert on them; however they are all correctable mistakes. Our expectation is to win a title just like every other team. While we are not the overall favorites, we do expect to compete.
Svetozar Stefanovic and James MacNamara are one of the top one-two punches on the East Coast. What makes them work so well together?
Mercado: They have really good chemistry and I would attribute that to them being very good friends outside of the pool. Their knowledge and work ethic are top-notch. They challenge each other in practice but there is no alpha male competition going on. They are definitely our best two players and they each have a great love of the sport. They also understand how important it is to have more people contribute and they are really helping with the learning curve of our young players who we will need to step up.