Parent Handbook

1. Welcome!

We are very excited to welcome you as members of the Tiger Water Polo Club! The Tiger Water Polo Club is a year-round, non-profit, youth development program dedicated to the sport of water polo. We focus on fun, personal development, and athlete development for boys and girls up to age 18. 

We are supported by an enthusiastic group of member families, several very active and involved water polo alumni, and a community of local businesses, schools, and institutions that see the value in proven developmental opportunities for children. Our program is professionally coached by a full-time head coach and a number of part-time assistants with the background, skills, and experience to maximize the experience for our participants.  

Our club is affiliated with USA Water Polo, a sanctioning and supporting entity for the sport of water polo in the United States. We are therefore required to adhere to all USA Water Polo guidelines. You can find more information about those requirements on their website

Tiger Water Polo primarily serves athletes from the North Allegheny School District but also welcomes athletes from any school district in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

2. 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 Club's history is rich and yet being written and rewritten every day. 

The Tiger Water Polo Club dates to the 1980′s with the launch of the Pittsburgh Renegades Water Polo Club. From those beginnings and with the help and 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, 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 many of the original Renegades active with our club as mentors, the varsity water polo program at North Allegheny is stronger than ever, and our age-group program is providing many rewarding opportunities to young athletes. Our club has a tremendous track record of developing high-level athletes who have had experiences competing across the region and across the country, including the US National Junior Olympics and Pan-Am Games. We boast a number of Academic All-American water polo athletes and National Team athletes. 

3. Tigers Online

The Tiger Water Polo website,, is where you will find up-to-date practice calendars, tournament information, and a login to your account information. We use Crossbar for registrations, billing, and payments. Make sure you sign up for notifications! Crossbar offers a convenient phone app where you will find schedules, rosters, and a messaging platform. You can also connect with us on social media! You can find us @natigerpolo on Instagram, @waterpolotiger on X (Twitter), and @tigerwaterpolo on Facebook.  

4. Club Board of Directors 

Lisa Stefanko, President

Angela Woods, Treasurer

Nikola Malezanov

Ang Morgan 

Jaime Fleischer

Mike Miller

Edith Bihler

Corky Semler

Our Board of Directors is always happy to answer questions and receive your feedback. Feel free at any time to engage us directly in person or by reaching us through the “Contact Us” link on the website. You can also directly contact our Board President. 

5. Coaching Staff

Damir Matanovic– Head Coach 

Cory Riley - Assistant Coach

6. Volunteers

Like any youth sports program, Tiger Water Polo relies on volunteers to run our club. There will be opportunities throughout the year to help at our home tournament, our fundraiser, and sometimes on deck with our athletes. Sustaining the longevity of our club relies on new parents stepping up every year, so please don’t shy away because you’ve never done something before, we’ll gladly teach you!     

Adult volunteers who work directly with children are required by Pennsylvania law to provide both a Report of Criminal History from the Pennsylvania State Police and a Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Services. These documents must be on file with the Club Secretary. 

7. Water Polo Programs and Sessions

Our club season runs from August 1 to July 31. We offer three sessions throughout the year for three age-group categories as defined by USA Water Polo:

  1. The 10U/12U Co-ed Program (formerly Elementary) is designed for those who can swim and are comfortable in deep water. Children will begin to learn more about water polo skills and gameplay. They will spend time in friendly games with newfound teammates. 10U/12U practices provide a supportive environment for children to consider a sport that they may want to pursue.
  2. The 14U Co-ed Program (formerly Middle School) is for athletes who are ready to learn more sport-specific skills, get more involved in team dynamics, play inter-squad games, and increase their commitment toward improvement. Training sessions will be more frequent and opportunities will be presented to play competitively in tournaments locally and regionally. 
  3. The 16U/18U Girls and Boys Program (formerly High School) is for athletes who have a desire for game strategy, harder workouts, and regular competition. This program offers high-level training four to five days a week in a fun environment aimed at accelerating personal development and team success in competitions. Athletes may be invited to play in regional, state, and national tournaments.

8. Attendance and Participation

  1. Practice - Regular practice is crucial for training and development. The coaching staff chooses drills based on what the team needs to work on. This becomes difficult when they can’t count on players to show up. Attendance is taken at each practice. If you need to miss, please show courtesy to the coaches by letting them know as far in advance as is practicable. 
  2. Competitions - Coaches make decisions about tournament rosters based on a variety of factors, and readiness to play is key among them. We will attend some highly competitive tournaments. At these tournaments, our most ready and competitive players will get the most time in these games. Throughout the year, we will also have opportunities for training/scrimmage sessions with other teams. At these sessions, all athletes will participate in the games. The board will communicate the nature of the event when we ask players to register and the coaching staff will be happy to answer questions about the readiness of your player for that particular event.
  3. Club Prioritization - Athletes are expected to prioritize participation with the Tiger Water Polo Club above other clubs. There are times when some athletes will have an opportunity to roster with another club for a specific event or tournament. This can only be done if the Head Coach approves, it will have a minimal impact on the athlete’s availability for Tiger Water Polo practices and games, and Tiger Water Polo is not sending a team of the athlete’s age group to the same event.Likewise, the Tiger Water Polo Club will prioritize filling our rosters with members of our own club before recruiting athletes from other clubs to fill out a roster. Please respond quickly to requests for tournament participation so that we can evaluate our needs in a timely manner.
  4. Club Affiliation - The club expects all 14U, 16U, and 18U athletes to maintain at least a Bronze Level membership with USA Water Polo. As members of the Tiger Water Polo Club, you can register as a member of USA Water Polo and select “Pittsburgh Water Polo Club” as your club affiliation. USA Water Polo membership will give you information about and access to training opportunities around the country. Some of the tournaments our club participates in will require each athlete to have a USA Water Polo membership. If your Tiger Water Polo Club membership is terminated for any reason, you will be disaffiliated from our club in USA Water Polo.   

9. Registration and Membership

All participants in our programs begin by registering for one of our programs via our online Registration Forms at our website:  

  1. Trial Membership - A commitment-free one-week trial period will be available to potential new members. After one week, the athlete must decide if he/she wants to become a member of Tiger Water Polo Club, and if so, pay a pro-rated fee for that session that includes the trial week. If at the end of the trial period, the athlete decides that water polo is not a good fit, he/she can leave with no payment due
  2. Small Group Lessons - We will periodically offer small group lessons focused on improving specific skills related to water polo or overall swimming ability. Payments must be made at the time of registration and are non-refundable unless the club cancels the lesson. 
  3. Clinics - We hold clinics several times each year as a way to introduce more people to the sport or for our existing members to work on specific skills. Payments must be made at the time of registration and are non-refundable once the clinic begins.
  4. Terminating your Membership - Membership from the Tiger Water Polo Club can be terminated for lack of payment of balances due, particularly when the outstanding balance goes beyond 60 days. Members may also terminate their membership with the program by notifying us directly. In either case, our Refund Policy will apply (See item 10.5 below). 

10. Billing and Financial Responsibilities

For billing-related questions, please contact Angela Woods at or 412-944-5609.

  1. Program Fees - Each family will be billed at the time of program registration. All billing statements and invoices are found in the Crossbar account accessed through Payments must be made through Crossbar. Please note that checks and Zelle are no longer accepted. 
  2. Tournament Fees - Tournament Fees occur each time we participate in tournaments. The fees can vary significantly by the tournament. Tournament Fees are required to be paid by the due date posted in your account. Fees will vary from tournament to tournament but will typically range from $15 to $50 per tournament, per player. Larger National and Regional Tournaments will have fees that range from $100 or more per player. Tournament fees billed to club members will include costs for additional coaching and coaches’ expenses where applicable.
  3. Hardships - We understand that financial hardships may arise and, if they do, we hope that you will contact our Club Treasurer to discuss making your payments. Hardship information is kept confidential, but your athlete may not be able to participate in tournaments unless your account is current or new payment arrangements are approved.
  4.  Late Fees/Penalties - A monthly $50.00 late fee is charged for any payment received after the due date. Balances 60 days past due will result in the termination of membership privileges. Your account will continue to accrue monthly late charges until paid in full. If there is an outstanding balance on your account, your player cannot attend any tournaments scheduled with the TWP Club. If you have an outstanding balance on your TWP Account and attend a game outside the club your Membership will be terminated immediately.
  5.  Refund Policy Athletes that join the Club are aware of the commitment that comes with being a member of a team. Parents likewise make a commitment to the program in supporting their children in a competitive endeavor. As such, our Refund Policy reflects the serious nature of the commitment that is being made while attempting to be as fair as possible to all involved:
  6. If a player withdraws within the trial period, no payment is made and no refund is necessary.
  7. f a player withdraws within the first month of a program session, the player will receive a pro-rated refund of the program fee, except for any fees paid toward tournaments or national sanctioning bodies.
  8. After the first month of the session, all dues and fees are non-refundable. 

11. Code of Conduct

Tiger Water Polo Club aims to create a safe environment where all athletes feel welcome to participate. When we compete, the behavior of our athletes, coaches, and fans reflects on the team and the club. As such, we have created a Code of Conduct to reflect the values of the Tiger Water Polo Club. Coaches, athletes, and parents must always comply with the Code of Conduct.  

Coaches are responsible for players on the pool deck, and parents are responsible for their players at all other times while at tournaments. We ask that parents allow the coaches to focus on the team and players during the tournament. 

Those in violation of the code of conduct will receive a written warning, a suspension, or face removal from the Club depending on the severity of the offense. All Code of Conduct violations should be reported to the Board President at or 724-900-5469. Any disciplinary action will be reviewed with the Head Coach and Board of Directors before being applied. Questions about the Code of Conduct should be directed to the Board of Directors.  

As a member of the Tiger Water Polo Club, all are asked to read and agree to the following guidelines:

  • I will always be on time and prepared for practice and games.
  • I will be courteous and respectful and practice good sportsmanship with teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials.
  • I understand that it is a privilege to represent my club and proper behavior is required in school, practice, and athletic contests.
  • I will always use appropriate language.
  • I understand that good sportsmanship is a must. 
  • I will be respectful of North Allegheny staff members and facilities.
  • I will be respectful of other teams’ staff members and facilities
  • I will be an alcohol, drug, and tobacco-free athlete.
  • I understand that commitment to practice and games is required. 
  • I understand that all team members are required to support their team for the entire contest.
  • I will abide by other temporary guidelines and requirements issued or communicated by Tiger Water Polo Club
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