Rio-Bound Olympians that hail from Irvine
By Irvine City News Staff
After the 2012 Olympics, the Irvine City Council honored silver medal-winning swimmer Jason Lezak, the Irvine High School graduate and city resident who also won four gold medals at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Lezak is one of the illustrious Olympians from the Irvine Novaquatics team that has included Amanda Beard and Aaron Piersol.
Dan Klatt, the other Irvine Olympian honored that night in 2012 isn’t as well known, perhaps. But Dan Klatt is back in the 2016 Olympics as an assistant coach with the U.S. Women’s National team. He helped guide the team to its first-ever gold medal in 2012.
Klatt is the head coach of the UC Irvine Women’s Water Polo team, and his connection to the city and the sport runs deeper than the water his teams swim in. He graduated from UCI in 2001 after his own collegiate water polo career, and went on to compete in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
The Women’s National team includes six Orange County athletes out of the 13 members of the team, plus two more from OC who join Klatt on the staff. Irvine has produced some 30 Olympians over the years, while UCI can claim 53 Olympians and Paralympians. The 2016 U.S. team includes former UCI All-American Charles Jock, who will run the 800 meters at the Rio Olympics, and UCI Men’s Volleyball All-American and national champion David Smith, who will be playing on the U.S. Indoor Men’s Volleyball team, while Kevin Tillie, also a volleyball national champion at UCI, will compete for France.
Go USA, go Irvine, go Anteaters! And go France!