The Tiger Water Polo Club is a year-round, non-profit, youth development program dedicated to the sport of water polo. We practice at the North Allegheny High School pool in Wexford, PA (about 25 min north of downtown Pittsburgh). We focus on fun, personal development, and athlete development for boys and girls of most ages. We are supported by an enthusiastic group of member families, a number of very active and involved water polo alumni and a community of local businesses, schools and institutions that see the value in proved great developmental opportunities for young athletes. Our program is professionally coached with a full-time head coach and a number of part-time assistants all with the background, skills, and experience to maximize the experience for our participants. Our club is affiliated with USA Water Polo and American Water Polo, each sanctioning and support entities for the sport of water polo in the United States.
Club History Twenty-plus years of tradition, a depth of supportive alumni and now years of developing the area’s youngest water polo athletes, the Tiger Water Polo history is rich and yet being written and re-written every day. The Tiger Water Polo Club has a history that dates back to the 1980′s with the launch of the Pittsburgh Renegades water polo club. From those beginnings and the help/support of several original Renegades, the North Allegheny High School Varsity Water Polo program was launched in 2001 by Kirk “Corky” Semler. Corky is a Pennsylvania Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, former Head Men’s and Women’s Varsity Swimming Coach at North Allegheny High School and a member of our club’s Board of Directors. Shortly after the launch of the varsity program at NA, the Tiger Water Polo age-group program – the centerpiece of our club – was started with a focus on teaching the sport of water polo to younger athletes of all ages. Today, we are proud to say that we still have some of the original Renegades still active with our club as coaches and mentors.
Relationship with North Allegheny Varsity Water Polo Tiger Water Polo has a close relationship with the North Allegheny High School varsity water polo program. The head coach (Damir Matanovic) and assistant coach (Max Staresinic) are coaches for both programs. We are grateful for the support of the NA athletic department as well. It's important to note that HS players are not required to play for the Tiger Water Polo Club team to be on the NA Varsity Water Polo team. Likewise, those who are not part of the NA Varsity team (or can't join the NA Varsity team since they are outside the district) are welcome to join the club and compete. All middle school and youth players play for the club exclusively throughout the year since there isn't a middle school team at any of the NA middle schools. Please note during HS season, we do not offer a club-only program for players 15 years or older.
Tiger Water Polo’s Head Coach is Damir Matanovic: Coach Matanovic – or Coach Mata, as he’s affectionately known. Coach Mata has spent his entire professional life focused on one thing and one thing only: being a top-level water polo coach. He studied under some of the best coaches the sport has to offer while coming up through a water polo school in Montenegro. Coach Mata has coached within professional club programs for most of his career, including time with Primorac-Kotor (a professional water polo team from Kotor playing at the A1 level) and in the professional women’s league in China. When he was not coaching professionally overseas, he was here in America – around 2007 – as the first full-time coach of Tiger Water Polo. During his tenure here his track record of player development has been remarkable.
Coach Mata has a truly special affection for Pittsburgh and an even greater appreciation for the Tiger Water Polo club and its families. Outside of his hometown of Tivat in Montenegro, Pittsburgh and Tiger Water Polo are where he and his wife, Marijana, and their son Konstantin feel most at home.
Assistant Coach - Max Staresinic Max Staresinic has coached for Tiger Water Polo for the last 3 years and served as our head coach during the summer season of 2019. He also served as North Allegheny’s assistant coach for boys and girls water polo in 2019. Prior to that, Max was a head coach in Southern California for 12U athletes. He is one of the top water polo players to come out of the East Coast in the last ten years. He made the USA Jr National Team in 2014 and was named Mr. Water Polo for Pennsylvania in 2013 and received All American honors. He helped lead North Allegheny to back-to-back state championships in boys’ water polo in 2012 & 2013. Max played varsity water polo with UCLA and also played in the US National League.
Assistant Coach (NA High School Only) - Allie Pennetti
Allies love for the water started at a very young age. She began her swimming career with ANSC at age 8. She continued as a student-athlete to play water polo and swim for North Allegheny High School teams. Allie was the goalie for NA water polo receiving All-American Honors and being awarded First Team All State.
Allie also represented the swim team all 4 years at WPIALS and States earning All-American Honors. Allie was named swim team captain during her senior season and was awarded senior student athlete of the year among the North Allegheny 2012 graduating class. During her time at NASH, she set the school record in the 50 & 100 freestyle events, 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.
After graduating from NA, Allie received a scholarship to swim for Pennsylvania State University where she competed all 4 years. She represented the team at the Big 10 Championships competing in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 back and 200 back. Allie was also the backstroke leg in the 200 Medley Relay at Big10s.
After Graduating from PSU in 2016 with a bachelors of science in Rehabilitation and Human Services, Allie worked in the health and fitness industry. She became certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer. Allie is an assistant coach for the North Allegheny High School Water Polo team and North Allegheny Swimming and Diving team.
Allie is excited to be on the pool deck coaching to continue the success of the North Allegheny aquatics program.
Conditioning Coach (NA High School Only) - Corky Semler
Corky joins our Varsity teams during the preparation for the high school season to prepare them physically and mentally with an outstanding program.