Russell Hafferkamp (USA)
2008 Honor Water Polo Player
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: Ever since 1989, he has competed in four age groups (30+ thru 45+); Competed in five FINA Masters World Championships with his teams winning two gold and two silver medals and a 5th place; Six-timeMVPUnited States National Championships (30+, 35+, 40+, 45+).
In the 1970's if you were involved in aquatic sports, the end of your collegiate career often signified the end your competitive career. That was not good enough for Russ Hafferkamp. Perhaps because he came late to the game, he still had a passion for the sport, so the end was really just the beginning.
Russ had a typical American youth, playing the Big 3: football, basketball and baseball. He discovered water polo his senior year in high school. He was recruited to play at U.C. Santa Barbara and in his sophomore season was named NCAAAll-American. After graduation Russ played for the US National Team for three years and spent one year as a player/coach for a team in Australia. He continued playing club water polo but felt the need for something more.
Following the example of Masters Swimming, Russ became a pioneer in the movement to create a Masters Water Polo program within USAWater Polo. In 1989, his dream was realized with the first sanctioned Masters Water Polo Tournament in El Segundo, California. Through the early 90's Russ continued his passion for the sport by being active in governance of USA Water Polo, serving as Chair of theA thletes Committee and member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. It was during this time that Russ was a leading advocate for athletes and was instrumental in authoring legislation and funding for the formal creation of MastersWater Polo in the United States.
Russ Hafferkamp has competed in four age groups since the inception of MastersWater Polo, from 30-34 through 45-49. He has competed in five FINA Masters World Championships with his teams winning two gold and two silver medals, as well as a fifth place finish. Russ is a six-time MVP, competing in nine US National Championships. It is easy to see why Russ Hafferkamp is only the second water polo player to be inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame.