Heather Moody brings Olympic experience to the ARC women’s water polo team

Moody has been to multiple Olympics, both as a player and as a coach

Heather Moody, coach of American River College's women's water polo team, has Olympic experience, both as a player and as a coach. (Photo Courtesy of Heather Moody)

Heather Moody, coach of American River College’s women’s water polo team, has Olympic experience, both as a player and as a coach. (Photo Courtesy of Heather Moody)

Heather Amberson, Managing Editor

The athletes on American River College’s women’s water polo team probably already realize they have a great role model in Heather Moody. Moody, the coach of the ARC women’s water polo team, is a multiple time Olympian as both an athlete and as a coach. 

Moody is a two-time Olympic medalist as an athlete, winning a silver medal in 2000 and a bronze medal in 2004. She was also on the coaching staff for two more medal winning teams. Moody also coached for the silver medal team in 2008 and for the gold medal team in 2012. 

Moody also won gold medals during the 2003 FINA World Championships and the 2003 Pan American Games, according to the Beaver Athletics website

Moody says that being an Olympian was an amazing experience. 

“The 2000 Olympics was the first Olympics I played in and it was the first time the women’s water polo team played in the Olympics,” Moody said. “Having that experience was an honor. The coaching part was different because as a player you could get in the water and work out your nerves and as a coach, you can’t do that.” 

Moody has earned other honors as well. In 2007, she was one of the first women to be elected into the New York Athletic Club Hall of Fame, along with two of her former teammates. She was also inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Moody says that going into the NY Athletic Club Hall of Fame with her teammates was an honor. 

“It was traditionally all male,” Moody said. “The club always had your back and supported athletes. You want to experience stuff with your teammates. You go through life together, and [during the Olympics] travel 18 hours and go straight to the pool, it creates a bond. It was great to have my teammates go into the same class in New York.”

For Moody, coaching is a way for her to give back to the game for all it has done for her. 

“Water polo gave me a lot. I lived in Greece, traveled all over the world and did clinics with the Olympics,” Moody said. ”I enjoy giving those memories to an athlete; it fills my bucket watching them grow.” 

Bethani Black, the ARC women’s swimming and diving coach, says that Moody is a major addition to the college.

“She is an extraordinary pick up for the college and the community,” Black said in an email to the Current. “There are very few coaches nationwide that have the background, knowledge and playing experience she has. She was the best center in the world for close to a decade and very humble about this, but also very passionate to share her talent. She is a gold mine for the program.” 

Moody has coached at every level and says that coaching each level requires different coaching methods. 

“I believe that every opportunity presented to you is an opportunity to learn,” Moody said. “It’s your job [as a coach] to instill the love of the game in younger kids. It changes at every level. In high school it is tremendous to teach athletes to take accountability for themselves. You get to help these skills, and you still get to help develop athletes.” 

Moody says that at the college level, holding athletes accountable is important. 

“In college, [it’s important to] be available for athletes, be attentive and an active listener, but you still have to hold them accountable,” Moody said.  

Black says she has seen Moody coach at every level and she brings a great skillset to the ARC women’s water polo team. 

“I have had the pleasure of watching Heather when she has coached club, high school, collegiate and several national team training sessions,” Black said. “Heather is always prepared and intentional, she makes the time she has with athletes productive and purposeful. She is able to break down the objective in a way that all athletes can get the most of the skill and apply.”