If water polo fans have been reading the daily leaderboards on O.C. swimming, they likely noticed Newport Harbor's "Silvers" throwing down some strong times in the 200 and 500-yard freestyles.
That would be Newport Harbor junior Andrew Silvers, a powerful 2-meter man who has flashed his potential for the Sailors' boys water polo team.
On Tuesday, Silvers out-touched Corona del Mar's Paul Sigler to capture the 500-yard freestyle in the Battle of the Bay dual meet in 4 minutes, 47.39 seconds. Silvers' time was just two seconds off the automatic Division 1 qualifying time.
Silvers has posted some of the most impressive times this swim season for kids best-known for their water polo skills. And this is a huge development for the Newport Harbor water polo program.
It's an advantage to have a powerful center who can beat defenders down pool or drive in the front-court offense for a mismatch. And if the 2-meter man can swim well, he doesn't need to be replaced in the course of the match, which means more goals and more drawn exclusions and foul trouble for the opposition.
A mobile 2-meter man simply puts a lot of pressure on defenses. He also can guard 2-meters if his team needs the help.
Now, Andrew Silvers might not final at the Division 1 swim meet in May but he will be primed for a big summer and fall in water polo.
And remember, Newport Harbor also returns 2-meter defender Dan Stevens, who is one of the county's top 2-meter defenders.
The Sailors are looking tougher. Newport also defeated Mater Dei-power Regency, 7-4, in an Ironman match in early March. Regency later defeated Newport at the Regency tournament.