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Janelle Hummingbird (left) works on defense against Raena Eldridge at the Southwest Division Olympic Development Program practice session last week at the RISD Aquatics Center.

The USA Water Polo Southwest Division held its Olympic Development Program (ODP) practice session last week at the RISD Aquatics Center.

The Southwest Division, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas, will select individuals to participate in the East/West Regional Tournaments in the spring.

There, the Southwest athletes will play against teams from across the United States. National team coaches use the East/West Tournaments as their selection process to bring athletes in to try for spots on the national teams.

Two other practice sessions will be held in Houston and Austin before the East/West Tournaments.

Rockwall High School state swimming gold medalist and water polo standout Raena Eldridge made the National Cadet Women’s Team last year. She was the only Texas player selected to any of the national teams.

The Rockwall Water Polo Club will have eight athletes trying to make their way to the National Team Selection Camp this summer, according to club president Jim Hummingbird.

“We are also very fortunate that our head coach, Andres Rodriguez, will be coaching the ninth and 10th-grade boys this year,” said Hummingbird.

Players in the program are Eldridge (9/10th-grade girls); Janelle Hummingbird (8th-grade and under girls); Evan Scown, Mitchell Eldridge and Alex Rodriguez (9/10th-grade boys); and Dean Manasco, Tyler Kreminski and Arturo Wong (8th-grade and under boys).

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