By Jinea Cole
SMC Corsair / Daily Press writer
It’s Santa Monica College (SMC) Aquatics coach Brian Eskridge’s time to make a splash.
SMC has a new head coach on the diving block, and his name is Brian Eskridge. After working as a part-time staff member for the last ten years, Eskridge recently accepted a full-time position as Head Director of SMC’s Aquatics Department. Starting as an assistant coach for the men’s water polo team in 2009, Eskridge moved up the ranks to become head coach in 2015. He’s also coached the Men’s swimming and Women’s water polo teams.
Eskridge never settled on being the assistant coach for the Men’s and Women’s swimming team. He also took over the Men’s swim team in 2015 and the Women’s swim team in 2018. Now, he is finally getting the chance to show his leadership qualities and change the perception of the Women’s Water Polo team, which went 1-11 last year.
“It’s been a journey working with the department, working part-time for ten years, and going through the interview process, but getting that call was a relief,” Eskridge said.
Eskridge wants to win games, but it’s been a struggle over the last couple of years. Eskridge wants to show his team that as they progress, they can be competitive in the future.
“We are trying to get better as a team this year,” he said. “We have some newcomers who haven’t played the sport before. So, just trying to get them better and ready to compete.”
The support of the upperclassmen who have seen the ups and downs of the program could be a benefit as he tries to get the underclassmen to buy into the program to help grow the culture of the swim team.
Coach Eskridge has made it his goal to change the culture and rebuild the Women’s water polo team. Their season began Saturday, Sept. 7 in the L.A. Valley mini-tournament against Pasadena City College and San Diego Mesa College with two losses.
“No matter if you have experience or not, everyone is held to the same standards, which is to work hard and do whatever it takes to make the team better,” he said.