Coaches

Charlie Neiman

Coach, HS Boys
charlie@raincitypolo.com

Coach Charlie started his water polo career at Phantom Lake Swim Club at the age of six. He played year round for Washington Water Polo Club, highlighted by a Silver Medal at the Junior Olympics. He also was a 4 year starter and 2 year captain for Bellevue High, earning League MVP and First Team All-State honors. After high school, Charlie attended Duke University where he graduated with a BA in Political Science. He captained Duke’s club team, earning CWPA All-American honors his junior and senior seasons.

Charlie has been coaching for over 10 years, starting on the Eastside with Phantom Lake and Norwood and assisting with various club teams in the Bay Area. When not on the pool deck, Charlie works on Strategic Partnerships for Amazon.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be joining Rain City. Washington has always had a talented and passionate water polo community and I’m excited to help the next generation of Northwest players grow the game.”

Kyle Sterling

Coach, HS Boys
kyle@raincitypolo.com

Coach Kyle grew up on Mercer Island, helping lead Mercer Island High School to four consecutive state water polo championships. Kyle was Washington state MVP in 2006. He also played with the U.S. Junior National Team in 2005-2006. Kyle then played collegiate water polo at USC.

At USC, Kyle was a starter on two consecutive NCAA Championship teams in 2008 and 2009. Kyle earned NCAA All-American honors in 2009. When not on the pool deck, Kyle works in the real estate industry.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining Rain City. I’m looking forward to sharing the knowledge and experience gained competing at the highest collegiate levels to the next generation of Northwest water polo players.”

Farrah Kunkel

Coach, HS Girls
farrah@raincitypolo.com

Coach Farrah started her water polo career at Newport Hills Swim & Tennis Club at the young age of six. Her first serious year of water polo began at 14 with Newport High School. She went on to become a four-year starter at California State University, Hayward, graduating with a BS in Kinesiology with an option in teaching. During this time she earned a WWPA Honorable Mention and 2nd Team All-American award.

Coach Farrah has been coaching for over 10 years, starting with Somerset (Midlakes) and moving on to Eastside Catholic High School, United Water Polo Club and Newport High School. She is currently the Head Coach of Newport’s men’s and women’s programs, earning top three the past three years. In 2012, she won the Coach of the Year award. When not on the pool deck, Coach Farrah teaches at Alki Elementary School.

“My goal as a coach is to not only have fun and grow the sport, but to integrate some of life’s necessary skills: responsibility, accountability, and team work! I’m excited to do this with all my Rain City athletes!”

Thor Tyson

Coach, Youth
thor@raincitypolo.com

Coach Thor has coached age group, high school and collegiate swimming and water polo for over 15 years in Oregon and Washington. He has led the Roosevelt Girls Team to a state championship and received numerous awards as Coach of the Year in High School League play.

More important than wins and individual accolades, Coach Thor is proud of the many Sportsmanship Awards that his teams have earned and strives to instill these values in his athletes.

“My goal is to introduce the sport of water polo to as many kids as possible through club, summer league and high school venues. I love to teach skills and see the passion that results when a new player discovers the excitement that comes from mastering the sport of water polo.”

Meredith McVicar

Coach, Youth Girls & Splashball
meredith@raincitypolo.com

Coach Meredith played water polo for 5 years Blue Ridge Summer League and 3 years for Roosevelt High School.  She coached for Blue Ridge Water Polo for 3 years. In 2012 and 2013, her 10&unders team won first place and 12&under coed and girls got second. She also served as assistant coach for the 18&unders as well.

Meredith has coached Rain City’s Splash Ball program since its inception. She also coaches developmental soccer for kids ages 4-6. She is currently finishing her Diploma at Ida B. Wells Middle College.

“I feel very fortunate to get the opportunity to coach in such a great community. My coaching method is teamwork and sportsmanship before everything else and most of all that the kids are having fun.”

Matt Gumpert

Coach, Youth Boys
matt@raincitypolo.com

Matt starting playing water polo in Tracy, California at Tracy High School and at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. He has been coaching water polo and swimming since he was 21 in both Southern California and  Northern California. In 2010 he started Ellis Aquatics water polo club, where his teams competed in Junior Olympics.

In 2012 he became the head coach of the Kimball High School girls team where they qualified for playoffs every year and have won back to back Sac San Juaquin Section Division 3 championships for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. In 2011 Coach Gumpert began coaching USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development Program for the Central Zone. Coach Gumpert is new to the pacific north west and is excited to help develop water polo in the Washington!

“I believe that we never stop learning in water polo, whatever the skill level may be. Skill and knowledge development through reflective learning is paramount to the shaping of all great water polo players and coaches alike. Never stop learning. I also believe that character development is the most important aspect of water polo. I love winning but it is secondary compared to the life long positive or negative we can have on these players lives.”

Thomas Howes

Strength & Conditioning Coach/Technical Director
thomas@raincitypolo.com

Coach Thomas began playing water polo at the age of nine for Norwood Swim Club, a passion that grew out of his combined love for swimming and baseball. At Bellevue High School he earned three varsity letters in both water polo and soccer, ultimately shaping his decision to enter into the world of strength and conditioning as a personal trainer.
At Western Washington University, Thomas continued to train clients and friends while completing a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and completing an internship at the Athletic Training Institute in Bellevue, WA. He has completed certifications as personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, completed a year-long internship with Greg Roskopf’s Muscle Activation Techniques in Denver, CO, and for the last two years has served as a Rehab Technician and Athletic Engineering Sports Trainer with ATI Physical Therapy (formerly Olympic Physical Therapy) on Mercer Island. Thomas plans to apply to graduate school in the Fall of 2017 to complete his Doctor of Physical Therapy and will continue to work in an outpatient setting with a wide variety of client demographics.
“The physical and psychological demands of water polo are a unique blend of cardiovascular endurance, strength, power, and mental toughness. The equation becomes even more complex when one factors in the consistent demand for overhead motions (throwing/swimming) and the lack of a solid base of support created by an aquatic environment. Our strength and conditioning program will aim to enhance performance, reduce the risk of overuse injuries, and teach our athletes how to persevere through instances of difficulty during competition”