Coach Bennigson Got Her Feet Wet with Water Polo

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Last fall, Ms. Becky Bennigson started her first season as the Water Polo coach for Armijo, but she came to the sport with lots of experience. “I have coached as an intern at Mount San Antonio College for the 2014 Girls’ season, and in 2015 I was the assistant Boys’ coach and head Girls’ coach for Glendora High School. Then I got a teaching job up in Vacaville and started coaching swim for Will C Wood,” she said. It was there that she met the coach for the Armijo Boys’ Water Polo team, Mr. Robert Marin. “That’s where I landed the AHS polo job!”

“I really enjoyed this season. Although we had a tough time playing our league, I think that we had one thing bigger and better than all the other teams: we had the best team bond I have ever seen,” said Coach Bennigson. “It’s really hard to have a team bond so well with all the different skill levels and attitudes. This team handled it extremely well. I’m one proud coach.”

Her full time job is as an elementary PE teacher at Browns Valley Elementary in Vacaville. Coach Bennigson has also worked for the City of Benicia as a lifeguard and swim instructor. In college, she worked for Panera Bread, Valley Hunt Club as a swim coach and as a lifeguard at the college, and at Glendora High School as a Security Monitor.

But coaching is her passion. “I have some negative and positive coaches in my life and, once I finished my college career, I felt like my life with swim and water polo wasn’t finished. My coach introduced me to the head coach at Mt Sac and helped me become an intern as I was earning my Minor in Coaching,” she said.

She had some interesting encouragement for future coaches: “It’s not just teaching athletes how to play the sport,” she said. “You’re taking on more roles than one. You’ll become a mentor, a counselor, a friend, a listener, an advisor, and for some a mother/father like figure. Some of the athletes you will have don’t have great parent figures in their life or even if they do, sometimes they can’t talk to them. It can be challenging, but the overall reward of knowing you are helping someone succeed in life and in sports is truly amazing. Also, if you’re doing it for the money, you don’t have your head on right. It’s never about the money because the money never relates back to how much time and effort you put in. It’s always going to be the change and guidance you bring to the athletes.”

If she could make a big change to the Armijo campus, she would want to have a bigger pool. “The pool is okay for now, but one day it’ll be too hard to play water polo because half of the pool is shallow and the other deep. Water polo is played in deep water and with our pool many can cheat,” she said.

And what does she do when she is not focused on teaching and coaching? Coach Bennigson said that she enjoys walking her dog, swimming, working out with friends, watching Netflix with my fiancé, and being with family in her free time. She likes to go on hikes, play with her nieces and nephews, plan spontaneous trips to difference cities and try new restaurants with her fiancé.

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