Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Science teacher Paige Lundquist leads her third period Honors Biology class on May 10.
D203 Board of Education approves major changes to science course pathway
Nolan Shen, Arts & Entertainment Editor • May 23, 2024
One of the photos taken by senior Tomi Bounphisai of R41N during this years Centrals Got Talent show.
Senior snaps singing, dancing and prom: “I just enjoy watching their vision come alive”
Selah Lee, Staff Writer • May 22, 2024
Sophomores Lilly Jia (far left) and Audrey Cheng (left) instruct competitors at Clover Math’s elementary and middle school math competition, hosted at Central on April 26. Clover Math is an organization founded by four District 203 juniors.
Student-led math organization hosts competition
C.J. Getting, Operations Managing Editor • May 21, 2024
From left to right, Robert Zoellick, Dr. Catherine Adrian DeRidder, Matt DiCianni and Ben Hutchison pose after becoming Central’s newest Distinguished Alumni at a ceremony on May 3.
Central inducts four new distinguished alumni in 25th annual ceremony
C.J. Getting, Operations Managing Editor • May 20, 2024
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Water polo coach boasts over 80% win rate over 23 year career

Varsity+boys+water+polo+coach+William+Salentine+directs+his+team+during+a+game+against+Barrington+on+April+18.+Sal+has+coached+the+team+for+23+years%2C+winning+over+80%25+of+his+games+in+that+time.
Jay Deegan
Varsity boys water polo coach William Salentine directs his team during a game against Barrington on April 18. Sal has coached the team for 23 years, winning over 80% of his games in that time.

Most successful high school athletic programs take a village to build. Naperville Central boys water polo coach Bill Salentine built his own village.

Salentine, or Sal as he is known by his players and students, knows a thing or two about winning. He has 13 state tournament appearances, the most of any coach in IHSA history. Pair that with a 0.819 career winning percentage, and Sal’s knack for winning is clear.

Sal began teaching PE at Central in 1992, founding the school’s water polo club the following year. Sal had plenty of experience with swimming, but that didn’t translate to water polo. 

“I didn’t know anything about water polo,” Sal said. “I had no experience with the sport. I did it as a way to keep the swimmers in the water in March, April and May until the summer swim season started.”

In the following years, Sal sought advice and guidance from more experienced coaches in the local water polo circuit to grow and improve his program. Eventually, in 2001, the team made the transition to IHSA competition. In his first year coaching at the IHSA level, Sal led his team to qualify for the state tournament.

“Years ago, I was a little more intense,” Sal said. “I did a little more yelling at the players instead of yelling to the players. We were still winning games, but people weren’t responding to yelling. Now, I try to be a better teacher of the game or the skill and then the results will come.”

These results came plentifully throughout Sal’s career. In Sal’s first 10 years coaching the team, they made eight state tournament appearances. Bigger things came in 2016, when the team completed a perfect 35-0 season and won the IHSA state championship. 

“2016 was special,” Sal said. “That year, I had some great kids, freshmen through seniors, that I still keep in contact with many of them today.” 

This was followed by a third-place finish in 2017, then back-to-back championships in 2018 and 2019. 

“[These] kids worked hard all year, in and out of the pool, on the swim team in water polo,” Sal said. “They played a lot of water polo together, so they knew who’s gonna go where and who to throw the ball to. And so those were all very special teams for their own little reasons.”

This amount of success did not come without some struggles and growing pains, however. 

“I think one of the biggest challenges is trying to get student-athletes to try it,” Sal said. “They might be very good swimmers, but they’ve never played water polo before. So trying to get them out of that mindset where they just have to swim and swim and swim and swim, now we’ve got to swim and catch a ball and throw a ball and somebody’s trying to mug you at the same time.”

For senior Sam Lendzion, Sal coaching extends beyond the pool.

“With everything we do, there is always a purpose behind it,” Lendzion said. “He knows when to have fun and when to be locked in. Sal has taught me a lot about how to be a better water polo player but has also helped me become a better version of myself.”

As he has built his program, Sal values the legacy and history that his players have left. 

“I think that we’ve been lucky that we’ve had some great kids,” Sal said. “I’m not just talking about athletic ability, they’re great people. They make it easy to coach. What I’m more proud of is that I see kids that I coached, and they’re now coaching at other buildings. Mark Giuliani’s coaching at York, and Martin Bell is back with me as an assistant, but he was at Neuqua Valley for a while.”

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About the Contributors
Nolan Shen
Nolan Shen, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Nolan is a senior, entering his third year on staff. He is excited to be heading the Arts and Entertainment section this year. When not writing for CT, he can be found playing with the Marching Redhawks Drumline, performing in the Naperville Youth Symphony, eating too much McDonald’s, and watching bad sci-fi movies. Next year, he plans on going to college to study political science and hopefully not flunk out.
Jay Deegan
Jay Deegan, Print Managing Editor
Jay Deegan is a Junior at Central and happy to start his third year of journalistic adventures at the Central Times. Jay loves writing features and diving in-depth into issues that plague our community. In his free time Jay runs a freelance videography and photography business and loves to creatively express his interests in sports and filmmaking. If you’d like to join CT or have a tip, reach out!
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