Vanguard Aquatics Staff

 

Sasa Branisavljevic
- President, 18/16u Boys Coach 

Contact: sasa@hbvanguard.com, 562.253.8429

Sasa started playing water polo at age 8 in Subotica, Serbia. He has a wealth of playing experience at both on a National and International level. 

He has played in the First Serbian League for several years. At the age of 16, he was the youngest player on Spartak's professional team. At the time Spartak qualified for Len Cup, an Elite Club Championship event that features Europe's strongest clubs.

Sasa has both College and High School coaching experience and worked with many elete-level athletes. He supervises and assists with all other club operations and age group programs. Sasa started coaching in Huntington Beach in 2008. As a coach, he took first place with the 12u boys and second place with 16u boys at the National Junior Olympics in 2014. He led the 12 under boys team to three consecutive bronze medal finishes at National Junior Olympics in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also led 12u team to 6st place finish at NJO's in 2010.  

 

Djoko Radunovic -  14u Boys Head Coach

Technical Director 

 

Djoko was born and raised in Montenegro, Europe and played with V.K. Primorac since the age of 8 for 10 years. During that time his team captured numerous top three finishes including several national titles. He played for the cadet and junior national team of former Yugoslavia and later Montenegro. Djoko finished his senior year of high school at San Bernardino High School where he won athlete of the year award. In the United States Djoko also played for Chris Oeding at LBCC. The team at LBCC managed to capture 2 conference and one state championship. Both years at LBCC Djoko managed to make first team all conference, first team all So Cal, first team All-American, and in his second year was also named South Coast Confernce MVP. He now coaches with the HB Vanguard where he oversees the 10u team as well as Huntington Beach High School where he assists with all Boys' teams. Djoko lead 10u team to 3rd place finish at JO's in 2012 and 1st place in 2013.

Recently Djoko returns to Vanguard after living in San Diego for the past 2 years and coaching at the San Diego based club Del Mar Aquatics where he was primarily responsible for the age group and 14u Boys Program.  The Age group nearly doubled under Djoko's watch.  We welcome him back to the Vanguard family.

 Brian Anderson

 - 12u Head Coach

 - Website & Social Media Director 

 Brian Anderson is an influential member in the origins of Vanguard  Aquatics.  Previous to being on staff with Vanguard, Coach Anderson  served as the Assistant Coach to Whittier College, the current #1  ranked school in Division III NCAA Water Polo.  Following his stint at  Whittier, he was the Head Coach of Huntington Beach High School  water polo, where he coached the girls team for four years and the  boys team for five.  While at Huntington Beach, Brian became the  winningest coach in program history, and was selected of the Sunset  League Coach of the Year in 2012 & 2014.  He also took teams to  Hungary, Croatia, and Slovakia for international training trips and  team competition.  

 Coach Anderson fomerly Assisted the  Cadet/Development National Teams for USA Water Polo, a position he held for two years.  He was responsible for the development and selection of potential pipeline national team athletes who could one day end up on the Senior National Team.  For the past three years he has Co-directed the USA WP Holiday Camp in Colorado Springs, and was a Head Coach for the Olympic Development 2004 Program.  

While at Vanguard Brian has coached the 16u, 10u, and currently the 12u teams.  In the Summer of 2014, the 10u program under Coach Anderson won the National Junior Olympic Championship, which marks back to back titles for the 10u program. In the Summer of 2015, Brian was the Assistant Coach to the 12u Boys Team that won several major championships including the USCC Tournament and took 2nd in the National Junior Olympic Championship.  In 2016 & 2017 the Vanguard 12u boys won back to back National Junior Olympic titles with Coach Anderson.  Brian also oversees the Vanguard website and all social media for the club.

Brian is also a Teacher at Westminster High School teaching World History and AP US History.

 

Nick Graffis

- Head Coach 10u Co-Ed & Splash Ball, High School Boys Assistant Coach 

Nick started playing water polo in Long Beach at Shore Aquatics and Long Beach Poly High School where he was All-City for three years. Nick’s team finished first in the Moore League and runner-up three times. He also competed for ORCA and SOCAL where his teams finished in the top 15 at National Junior Olympics each year. 

He coached at his alma mater, Long Beach Poly, for four years and was head coach for one year. As head coach, his boy’s water polo and swim teams each finished second in the Moore League, and his girl’s water polo and swim teams each finished first. Nick also started a water polo and swim club, Long Beach Aquatics Foundation, to support the underprivileged area around the high school and bring more experienced athletes to the school. The club experienced success in many tournaments and at various age groups.  In addition, it supported the communities of North Long Beach, Dominguez Hills, Lakewood and Cerritos with almost thirty new athletes in years one and two – 13 of which entered area high schools and many were selected to the All-City team in their first year. Nick's club also successfully qualified for National Junior Olympics every year. 

Nick has also coached at University High School where his team earned second place in the Pacific Coast League. As the head coach at Mt. Carmel High School, Nick’s team was ranked fifth in Division I and won the Palomar League.  In the two years that Nick coached the UC Irvine Women’s Club team, they ranked seventh in the Nation – the highest in team history – and Nick was named Pacific Coast Division Coach of the year.  As a coach at Orange County Water Polo Club, his team finished in the top 20 at National Junior Olympics.

Nick’s Vanguard coaching responsibilities include working with the 14U Boys Silver team and assisting with several other groups. Outside of coaching, he’s pursuing a career in medicine. 

 

Chris Kaps - "Kaps"

- Assistant Coach High School Boys Programs / Lead Goalie Instructor 

Kaps joined the Vanguard family in 2014 as an Assistant Coach for all age groups, including the 16U Boys team that placed 2nd the 2014 National Junior Olympic Championship in Stanford.  He’s been a great addition to the club and is an important mentor in the development of Vanguard’s goalies across all of its teams.

Kaps has worked for several water polo clubs and teams in Orange County, as well as serving as Head and Assistant Coach in high school programs such as La Quinta, Ocean View, Fountain Valley, and Huntington Beach.  He is also one of the lead Strength Coordinators for the nationally recognized NOVA Aquatics Swim Club, and Assistant Coach to the Fountain Valley High School swim team, which won the Sunset League title in 2015.

 

Pavle Filipovic 

- 16/18u Boys Coach 

Pavle Filipovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia and grew up playing water polo for the professional Serbian water polo club, Partizan WPC. Pavle played all through age group water polo, where he won numerous National and Regional Championships, making it all the way to the Partizan Senior Team. With Partizan, he traveled and played in international tournaments in Hungary, Turkey, Italy, and Greece.

After moving to the US, Pavle played 2 years at Long Beach City College, where he he helped win 2 CA State Championship Titles in 2005 & 2006. Pavle also played 2 years at CSU Long Beach competing at the NCAA D 1 level in 2007 & 2008. 

Pavle has coached for Viking Aquatics, Shore Aquatics, LA Water Polo Club, Harvard-Westlake School, and Newport Harbor HS, and Newport Beach Water Polo Club in the past 7 years. He is currently serving as an assistant coach for the Men's and Women's Water Polo and Swim teams at Long Beach City College and as an assistant coach for USA Water Polo Men's Youth National Team.  Currently Pavle is the Head Coach and Aquatics Director of Sage Hill High School Boys Water Polo and Co-Ed Swim.

Pavle obtained his Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Political Science from CSU Long Beach in 2009 and his Master's Degree in Teaching & Education from National University in 2013.

 

Laura Huynh

- Splash Ball, 10u Coed Teams, and 12u Girls Team

Laura started playing water polo at Long Beach Polytechnic High School.  She was a three year varsity water polo player and swimmer and also selected for the First Team All-Moore League and the Long Beach Press Telegram’s Dream Team.

Laura played for Goldenwest Water Polo Club under Coach Heather Moody, where her team successfully qualified for Junior Olympics. She went on to play at UC Irvine and UC Irvine’s Collegiate Club where she led her team to 2nd place in Southwest Division of CWPA and 3rd place in CWPA National rankings for the first time in school history. Laura was UC Irvine’s Collegiate Club Athlete of the Year, as well as CWPA First Team All-American, making her the first athlete to be chosen from UC Irvine. 

Laura has coached both swimming and water polo at her alma mater, Long Beach Poly.  She was also a swim instructor for three years and youth water polo coach for two years. 

Laura currently coaches Vanguard’s Splash Ball and 10U teams, as well as assisting with other age groups.  Laura recently lef the 10u Girls team to a Bronze Medal in the National Junior Olympic Championship in 2017. 

In addition to her Vanguard coaching responsibilities, she is continuing to pursue her education as she prepares herself for a career in Pediatric Pharmacy.

Milos Skaljac

- Age Group & High School Boys Coach

Milos brings a wealth of water polo knowledge and experience to the Vanguard family.  

He is a product of Red Star, one of the premier European clubs in Belgrade, Serbia that competes in the competitive Adriatic League.  In addition, he was a member of the Yugoslavian Cadet National Team from 1999 – 2005.

From 2008 to 2014, he was the Head Coach of the Orange County Water Polo Club, which earned over 75 trophies and medals in competitions throughout the nation.  Most recently, he was the Assistant Coach of the nationally ranked University of California, Irvine Men’s Water Polo team in 2014.  During this same period, Milos was also Head Coach of the European Water Polo Academy based in Laguna Niguel.  The academy develops systems of training for boys and girls in preparing them for competition at the high school, collegiate, U.S. National Team and professional levels.

Milos played two seasons at Long Beach City College, which won the state title both years, and in 2006 he was State MVP.  He completed his collegiate career at Concordia University, Irvine where he was the Most Valuable Player in 2009-2010 and also earned All-American honors on the Eagles' National Championship teams in 2009 and 2010.  For the 2011 – 2012 season, he served as an Assistant Coach at Concordia, his alma mater, and the Eagles won the NAIA national championship.

Milos also previously served as an assistant coach at J Serra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, where he helped to develop the water polo program.  He is currently the Assistant Coach at USC for both the Mens and Womens programs.

 

Jovan Jeremic 

- 12u Boys Coach 

Coach Jovan is no stranger to the style and approach of Vanguard, as he himself played under Coach Brian, Coach Sasa, and Coach Djoko in his club and high school water polo days.  Jovan comes from Huntington Beach High School where he was a All County, All CIF, and First Team Sunset League selection.  Jovan was also a member of the National Team Pipeline System for three years competing with the Cadet and Youth National Teams.

From Huntington Beach High School, Jovan went on to star at Princeton University where he played attacker for the Tigers.  He has a prolific career where he earned All-CWPA Southern Honors, ranking himself in the Top 10 of Princeton’s record books for goals scored and assists.  He also played for the National League while being a member of the college team.  He majored in Neuroscience and Minored in Cognitive Science.

 

Chaz Harker 

- 12u Boys Coach 

Bio coming soon !!

 

 

Riley Wilson 

14u Silver Head Coach 

 

 

 

Uros Dzelebdzic

Coach Uros played water polo in Serbia for 10 years before coming to Moorpark High School to finish his senior year of high school. He played in many international competitions and earned All-American honors in high school.

He played for Long Beach City College before earning a scholarship to play for Queens College, NY. He has a degree in Exercise and Sport Science and is applying principles of biomechanics, motor control and exercise physiology to all practices and training sessions.

He has been coaching since 2006 and led multiple teams to Top 10 finishes at National Junior Olympics including a JO Championship with 14u boys in 2013. Uros is currently the associate head coach at Cypress College and Age Group Director and 14u Boys Head Coach at Vanguard Aquatics.

Uros is an expert  in strength and conditioning who plans on pursuing a doctorate degree in Exercise Physiology.