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California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Cal Lutheran water polo welcomes interim head coach Tim Settem

Logan Bury
Tim Settem takes over as the new interim head coach for women’s and men’s water polo.

Ahead of the 2024 women’s water polo season, California Lutheran University welcomed Interim Head Coach Tim Settem to the program.

Settem said he has been involved in water polo since the age of 10. He played collegiately at Ventura College and Long Beach State, in addition to playing overseas in Australia. Prior to coming to Cal Lutheran, Settem said he has coached at multiple local colleges including Claremont-Mudd-Scripps University and Pepperdine University.

Settem said he estimates that there are as few as 65 varsity college water polo programs in the United States.ย 

โ€œTo be one of those 65 individuals who are a head varsity coach is a pretty prestigious position, and something a lot of people go after,” Settem said. “I think so many people focus on the Division I aspect that they overlook Division III, when the reality is it’s just as competitive, it’s just as rewarding.”

Cal Lutheran women’s water polo has had multiple coaching changes within the last few years, with a total of five different head coaches over the last four seasons. According to graduate student and captain Bethany Metcalfe, this has made it challenging to adjust to the different coaching styles the team has seen with each coach.

โ€œItโ€™s really hard because every coach has a different style and youโ€™re adjusting to one coach and then it gets completely switched. Everybody learns different things and so just growing as a team is hard because every player is taught something different and some coaches want one thing and some coaches do not want that thing at all,โ€ Metcalfe said. “Everybodyโ€™s doing something different all the time.โ€

Sophomore attacker Jaqueline Brandon said she has faced difficulty with adjusting to the coaching changes.

โ€œI didn’t have a sense of stability, and there was,” Brandon said. “It was never the ability to focus on growing as a player as much as making sure that we were on the same page.โ€

Settem said the program has been through the โ€œringerโ€ throughout these last few years. According to Brandon, Settem has already aided in balancing the stability of the team within his first month as head coach.

โ€œI’ve seen a world of difference. I feel so much more comfortable in the water now and I feel like I’ve gotten so much better as a player,โ€ Brandon said.

Brandon said that Settem has done well with setting expectations and standards to ensure that the entire team is on the same page and knows what one another is doing.

โ€œItโ€™s never a question for us what he wants from us and I think having that and continuing to have that is just gonna give us a good foundation to ultimately grow upon, cause I feel like thatโ€™s what weโ€™ve been missing for the past couple years,โ€ Brandon said.

Settem said both he and the players are proud of the progress that they have already been able to achieve. He said he sees a very high potential in the team and is excited about what they will continue to achieve.ย 

โ€œThere’s just amazing energy from the student-athletes. Their potential is what excites me more than anything. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential,โ€ Settem said.ย 

This potential, Settem said, is something he hopes can bring more Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) titles and national championships to Cal Lutheran. He said he wants to create a program that is contending for championships every year.ย 

โ€œA focused mindset that we have the potential to win a conference title and win a national championship on the women’s side,โ€ Settem said.

In addition to creating national champions, Settem said he wants athletes to look back on the water polo program with fond memories and go on to live happy lives following their water polo careers.ย 

โ€œYou just want them to love who they are, love what they’re doing and be happy. That’s the ultimate goal of the day,” Settem said. “That’s my definition of success, just being happy doing what you’re doing.โ€

Brandon said Settem is always approachable and willing to help out by any means possible, inside and outside the pool.

โ€œHeโ€™s so supportive in everything we doโ€ฆHis door is always open and he makes sure that that’s known to us. And if and when someone needs help, I without a doubt would know that we would be able to go to him,โ€ Brandon said.

Metcalfe said that Settemโ€™s life experience as well as his connections in the SCIAC is beneficial to the athletes.

โ€œHeโ€™s coached in SCIAC before, he knows all the SCIAC coaches like personally and so having the experience of, he knows how they like to coach and he watches a lot of film and just his experience playing, you can really tell he knows what heโ€™s doing,โ€ Metcalfe said.

Metcalfe said the connections that Settem has in the water polo community can serve both her and the rest of the team well when it comes to continuing to be involved with water polo after college in any capacity.

โ€œI think he has great connections in the water polo community. His wife is a really high-ranking official and Iโ€™ve talked to him before about how if I wanna go into officiating afterwards as like a side gig, he could totally help with that,โ€ Metcalfe said. โ€œYou know, water poloโ€™s such a small community that like if you wanna coach afterwards, he has connections everywhere which is nice.โ€

Now with a new head coach, the Regals with begin their quest for their first SCIAC title since 2021 on March 9th against the University of La Verne, at home, at 11 a.m.

This article was updated at 9:48 a.m. on Feb. 20 to correct two misspellings of Settem’s name.

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