PaliHi Boys Water Polo Practice Is Underway;

Palisades High School boys water polo coach Adam Blakis speaks to underclassman goalies at an afternoon practice at the aquatics center.

Dolphins Seek Eighth Straight City Championship

Anyone lap swimming before 8 a.m. at the Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center is now seeing numerous lanes packed with swimmers — specifically, Palisades High boys.

It’s the first practice of the day for the water polo team – lap swimming, jumping out of the pool for pushups and then back in the pool for more laps.

UC Berkeley-bound Theo Trask, a standout on last year’s powerhouse team, has been assisting head coach Adam Blakis with the early-morning conditioning practice.

The second practice is in the afternoon after school, when the focus is on ball handling and running plays.

Last year, the Dolphins won their seventh straight City Section title by defeating Birmingham in the finals. They were then seeded second in the CIF SoCal Division III regional tournament and captured the championship by defeating California of Whittier.

PaliHi goalie Dmitry Gorozhankin practices treading water while holding the ball on his fingertips.

In that game, sophomore goalie Dmitry Gorozhankin made 10 saves on 15 shots. Senior and team captain Theo Trask had eight steals, one goal and one assist. A leading defender, Trask had 123 steals for the season.

Circling the News spoke to Blakis at the pool about the upcoming season. He has 45 kids out for the  JV and varsity teams. “We’re a young team,” he said. “This will be a year of rebuilding.”

Last year, under Blakis and assistant coach Kirk Lazaruk, the Dolphins were 30-4 overall and 8-0 in Western League action.

Although he has seniors point guard Max Speiser, leading scorer Oliver Grant and junior Gorozhankin returning this year, “We don’t have the depth we did last year,” Blakis said.

Pali’s first test will be the Canejo Classic Tournament in Thousand Oaks on September 6 -7 (which will include varsity and JV teams). The first local match will be against Brentwood on September 9 at Brentwood, with varsity at 4 p.m. and JV at 5 p.m. The home and league opener will be against LACES on September 23.

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