Oct 27, 2015

Name: Angela Johnson Linardic
Sport: Water polo
Position: Athlete/Coach
Hometown: Sidney, BC
Current Residence: Cranbrook, BC


Teams that play together, stay together: Rio-bound coach shares her recipe for team success

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are just under a year away, but Cranbrook coach and teacher, Angela Johnson Linardic will be getting a sneak peak of the competition when she jets south next month for Aquece Rio International – a major international water polo tournament. The tournament is part of a test event prior to the Olympics, so teams can get a feel for the venue.

After earning an impeccable coaching reputation, Angela was selected to be part of the coaching staff of Canada’s senior national water polo team. The women’s team won a silver medal at this summer’s Pan-American Games in Toronto (featured above) and currently have their sights set on the Olympics.

“What I really enjoy as a coach is watching the girls go through the same steps that I experienced as an athlete and having the ability to provide learning opportunities which  guide them through their own experiences,” said Johnson Linardic.

Angela was born and raised in Sidney on Vancouver Island. She started swimming at a young age, and was soon drawn to water polo for its social component. After high school, she packed her bags for Vancouver to train with the Pacific Storm: an elite water polo club known for its team of BC’s top water polo athletes.

Angela’s time with the Storm soon earned her a place on the junior national team, and shortly after, the senior national team. After a number of years competing for Canada and one year of playing professionally in Italy, she returned to Vancouver a retired player. She began working as a teacher, but found herself missing the pool.

“The summer was coming up and I found myself thinking, what am I going to do with a summer off? A summer club in North Vancouver approached me and asked if I would coach their summer water polo program.”

Five summers of coaching led to an offer to coach the youth national team. After another two years, the junior national team came calling. In 2011, the popular coach relocated with her husband to Cranbrook, BC. Despite the separation from her team, Angela travelled and dedicated herself to coach at all international competitions.

She says while she loves the strategic component of the sport, she believes what she brings to the table has nothing to do with the physical aspects of the game.

“When it comes to a tournament, I always think of where the girls’ heads are. I try to keep the girls happy and in the right mindset, with everybody feeling included, knowing their roles and feeling that their role is important to the team. Creating that team environment—that’s what I focus on.”

The passionate coach stresses that success in the pool can often come down to a strong team connection, noting that there is no place for negativity in or out of the water.

“It makes a huge difference. The teams that play together are the ones who are most successful.”

She believes that teams who experience the most success know the importance of creating a culture of team connection, and will treat next month’s international water polo event in Rio as a test event for teambuilding, in addition to laying the groundwork for athletic success at the 2016 Summer Olympics. 

The Women in Sport Spotlight is a monthly series featuring inspirational female athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, and leaders in British Columbia. Visit our Newsroom and follow us on Twitter @ViaSportBC to find the latest edition.