On November 19, Kami Craig returned to her former high school, Santa Barbara High School to be honored by TeachersCount, a nonprofit organization that strives to acknowledge and promote the importance of teachers. Craig was recently the recipient of a campaign by TeachersCount known as "Behind Every Famous Person is a Fabulous Teacher". The campaign was created by Allen Kay, with help from other notable individuals including Laura Bush and America Ferrera. The purpose of the campaign is for celebrities or athletes to recognize one of their former teachers or mentors. Craig picked Debbie Penny, her high school resource specialist. Craig mentioned that Penny has a "special place in my heart", and was one of the first people to believe in her academically. Craig was also presented with a check from Staples Inc. for $1,000 that was donated to Santa Barbara High's special edition department. She described her experiences struggling in high school, including growing up with learning disabilities. Penny was able to work with Craig one-on-one and encourage her to attend a four-year university, which would eventually become USC. Penny recalls, "I remember she had gone to, I believe, Australia, and it was right before the finals, she took finals early and email and faxes assignments back early; she wanted it more than anything". Aside from her own personal encouragement, Craig stated that Penny made her feel more comfortable in terms of speaking about learning disabilities, which has enabled her to be a mentor to other kids. Staples has donated more than $18 million to schools and charities to promote learning assistance programs.
USA Water Polo was on hand at the event and has a video
This week Kami Craig was back in her hometown of Santa Babara to play water polo with the Santa Barbara Aquatics Club. The Santa Barbara team lost to the New York Athletic Club, which currently the best in the nation. Other players on Craig's team included Kelsey O'Brien, Jillian Staph and Tier Schroeder. Presidio Sports featured an article on the event in which "SBAC coach Cathy Neushul said her players were thrilled to play with Craig, a Santa Barbara High grad and the most accomplished women’s player in SBAC club history." Craig had previously played with the Aquatics team before, but the last time was when she was a senior at Santa Barbara High School in 2005. Coach Neushul stated that she hopes Craig will return to make the tournament an annual event.
Kami Craig and fellow Peter J. Cutino Award winner JW Krumpholz were both at the White House earlier this week on September 13, as a representatives of USC to attend the a reception hosted by President Barack Obama for over 650 NCAA atheletes, a tradition started by George W. Bush.
So unfortunately I didn't really blog at all throughout the season, due to the fact that I thought I'd have more time. I was however able to make it to one of the games and got a bunch of great photos that I'll be sure to share here over the coming months.The game that I attended was on the 13th of February at USC's McDonald Swim Stadium against Loyola Marymount University, one which USC won.
I captured some of the other players as well. I personally think the best shots were after the game, but I got plenty during the game as well. The ultimate score of the game was 9 goals by USC compared to 2 by LMU. Here is the official write up from USC's news section.
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 2 USC women's water polo team got off to a sluggish start but rallied late to take down No. 7 LMU at McDonald's Swim Stadium on Saturday. USC's Nadia Dan and Joelle Bekhazi each scored two goals to help the Trojans improve to 5-1 on the season. LMU's goalie Kristine Cato recorded 15 saves, but it wasn't enough as the Lions fall to 4-1.
LMU's Erin Manke scored the only goal of the first period to give the Lions the advantage early. The Women of Troy responded in the second period when Patricia Jancso connected with Kally Lucas for a goal with 7:21 remaining before the half. USC's Nadia Dan hammered home a 5-meter penalty shot with 5:03 left in the second period to give the Trojans a 2-1 lead. LMU's Daisy Carillo evened the match with a goal at the 3:06 mark, but Joelle Bekhazi put the Trojans on top with a goal just before the end of the second period to give the Women of Troy a 3-2 lead.
USC's defense was the difference as LMU was held scoreless in the second half. The Trojans took advantage of a 6-on-5 power-play opportunity late in the third period as Lucas linked up with Dominique Sardo for the goal. With 1:24 remaining in the period Bekhazi dished to Forel Davies for the score to extend the lead 5-2. The Trojans offensive attack continued in the fourth period. USC's Dan set up Kami Craig for another 6-on-5 goal. Davies connected with Dan for another Trojans goal with 5:43 remaining in the game to extend the lead 7-2. Bekhazi and Stephanie Lavayen added late scores to round out the 9-2 win over LMU. Trojan goalie Tumua Anae recorded four of her eight saves during the final period.
I came across this video a while ago. It was filmed and uploaded by USA Water Polo and essentially is a nine minute video of Craig's daily life at USC. Shot on March 30, 2009, the video begins with Craig showing off her Los Angeles pad, the Olympic Village that served as the home for the athletes in the Summer Olympics in 1984. She begins the tour by showing off her kitchen which is entirely painted blue. We then get a look into her fridge, which contains milk, juice and Red Bull for "those late nights of studying". Craig also says that she and her roommates are big pancake fans and often make pancakes on game days.
The next room is the living room which has an ocean theme and Craig mentions that she and her four roommates are all "surfers or lovers of the beach". The room contains large couches, which are used by Craig and her roommates to "lounge around" on. A projection TV can be seen in the background next to the wall of pictures, which appear to be primarily beach-themed. Adjoining the living room appears to be Craig's bedroom, which she has all to herself. The room, appearing on the second floor of the apartment is "super comfortable" and shows us her bed which appears to be used frequently. Craig mentions that sleep is very important for an athlete. She appears to utilize a MacBook and an iPod dock is seen near the head of the bed, suggesting that she is an avid Apple fan. One corner of the room contains her dressed which is topped of by pictures of her team, her friends, mom and sign of the word "Dream". Especially important to Craig is a photo of her team that won the Pan-American games and qualified for the Olympics in Rio De Janiero. Her prize possession, however, seems to be her Silver Olympic medal that she sleeps with under her pillow. To the left side of her room, Craig has a mirror mounted on the wall as well as a photo of an monster wave. She hones in on a small photo
of her boyfriend, brings it up close and flashes a smile for the camera and
says, "My very cute boyfriend, right here...he likes to surf with me and uh
that's really fun. We get along and do a lot of really cool things together". She then turns around to retrieve a second photo that appears to be Craig
and her boyfriend wearing wetsuits and kissing at their favorite beach. She then goes on to shop off her surfboard that she received in July of 2008, a 21st birthday present from her mom and boyfriend. The Olympic rings are painted on the board, commemorating her team's participation.
After the tour of her house, Craig heads out at 11:55am on her green beach cruiser bicycle. She joins five of her teammates for lunch at the Galen Athlete Center on USC's campus. She described the Center as the usual hangout place. After lunch, she heads off the gym for weights before afternoon practice. Her routine in the weight room consists of lifting bars, dumbbells and assisted leg workouts. After an hour of weight training, Craig attends her social psychological class. She is a sociology major. Class runs from 2pm to 3:15 and then she heads off to her afternoon water polo practice session. At 4pm, she arrives at McDonald Swim Stadium and briefly describes the typical routines that she does for practice. During practice, she mentions how much of an honor it is to be part of the USC water polo team and how good her coach is.
Hi! Welcome to the first post. I'd first like to say that I am in no way affiliated with Kami Craig and this blog is no way official. I am simply a fan and since I couldn't find any site dedicated to the Olympian, I decided to start one. I'll be putting up a biography within a few days. It was recently posted on the USC women's water polo page that Craig will be returning to play on the USC team. I found this to be interesting considering that this is her fifth year attending USC, however only her fourth year playing on the team, since she played for the USA in 2008's Olympics, getting Silver. I am still surprised that there has been website on her, and yet there is a Wikipedia article that someone wrote sometime ago. I took the photo on the left in 2007 at UCSB water polo game, respectively UCSB vs. USC. I only have two sets of photos to work with, that are to my credit.