Coaching Staff

  • 10u Girls will be coached by Tamara Perea and Jenny Righetti.
  • 12/14u Girls will be coached by Natalie Benson, Tamara Perea, and Karol Bethell
  • 16/18u Girls will be coached by Eric Benson, Yessenia Lopez, and Jenny Righetti
  • Mackenzie Richards will be the goalie coach and work across all age groups
Natalie Benson
Natalie is a well-regarded coach and has been inducted into the USAWP, UCLA, and NYAC Halls of Fame for her 20+ year commitment to the sport. 

As a coach:
  • Current Fresno State Water Polo Head Coach
  • Took Fresno State from non-existence to 3rd in Conference in 2 years
  • Multiple positions with USA Water Polo; has served as Assistant and Head Coach of Junior, Cadet, and Development National Teams. 
  • Former ODP coach (Development, Cadet) Currently runs Holiday Camp in Colorado Springs
  • Former head coach of Huntington Beach Water Polo Club; won 2011 Junior Olympics at 18u level, earned silver medals at 2012 & 2013 JOs
As a player:
  • 2008 Olympics – Silver medal
  • 2004 Olympics – Bronze medal
  • 2003, 2007 World Champion
  • 2005 Cutino Award Winner
  • 2001, 2003, 2005 NCAA Champion (UCLA)
Eric Benson

Eric has been a referee for the last three years, working hundreds of games at College, Junior College, High School, and USAWP levels throughout Northern, Central and Southern California.  He earned the top Referee award for the Youth division (18u) at the 2019 ODP Championships.  Prior to working as a referee, Eric ran the Huntington Beach Water Polo Club with Natalie where they made the 18u platinum championship game 3 years in a row.  Under Eric and Natalie's leadership, the 16u team won back-to-back Cal Cup state championships.  One of the greater accomplishments came in 2012 when Eric's 18u B team finished 8th while Natalie's A team finished 2nd, both in the platinum division of JO's.  Eric played at Long Beach State after serving 9 years in the US Coast Guard. He also earned an MBA from Loyola Marymount.

Tamara Perea

As a coach:
  • Current Fresno State Assistant Coach
  • Coaching at the collegiate level for 7 years
  • Division I: Siena College (Head Coach), Marist College (Assistant Coach)
  • Division III: Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (Assistant Coach)
  • High School coach at Claremont High School (2012-2016), and Bonita High School (2016)
  • Foothill Club (4 years)
  • Junior Olympics with 14 & under girls--2nd place Gold division (2014), 1st place Gold division (2015)
As a player:
  • 2009 Division III National Champion (Pomona-Pitzer)
  • 2010, 2011 Division III Athlete of the Year
  • 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Division III All-American
Karol Bethell

Karol has been a teacher, substitute teacher and multi-sport coach for Clovis Unified School District since 1987. She has coached water polo at the intermediate and high school levels since 1996, currently at Clovis East High School. Karol has also coached for the Clovis Water Polo Club for 6 years, and for the last 3 years,both the Timberwolves Water Polo Club and Royal 559 Water Polo Club. She has coached the Fresno State Women’s Water Polo Club since 2012. 

Karol has taken 3 teams to Speedo Cup in St. Louis, MO., and coached 7 Junior Olympic teams. This past May, she coached the Fresno State Women’s Water Polo Club team at the National Championships at Notre Dame.

Karol has attended a variety of coaching clinics and has coached at 2 Holiday Camps at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

Jenny Righetti

Jenny started her coaching career on the swimming side of the pool, but added water polo when she and her husband Marc helped launch Kingsburg Water Polo Club in 2009. After serving on the board and assistant coaching Splashball and 10u-14u age groups with KWPC, she made the move to coaching high school water polo in 2017. She attended USAWP Holiday Camp for coaches training in 2017 and wants nothing more than to help promote the love for the game of water polo.
  • Assistant Coach - 18u Timberwolves WPC 2017-2019
  • Assistant Coach  - All age groups Kingsburg WPC 2009-2017
  • JV Girls Water Polo Clovis East HS 2017-2019
  • Director of Sport Girls Swim Clovis East HS 2019
  • Head Varsity Swim Coach Mt. Whitney HS 2014-2018
Yessenia Perez-Zirate

As a Coach:
  • Central Director of Sport Girls Water Polo and Swim 2015-current
  • Central Assistant Girls Water Polo coach 2014
  • Central Tsunamis Head Swim Coach and Head Girls Water polo Coach
  • Fresno City College Assistant Swim Coach 2017-2019

As a Player:
  • Fresno State Club 2018
  • Fresno City College 2014-2017
  • Second team - Big 8 Conference (2017)
Mackenzie Richards

Mackenzie Richards is the current goalie coach for Fresno State and is a recent graduate (2019) of the Fresno State women's team.  She led the defense her senior year helping secure a 3rd place finish in the Golden Coast Conferece.

Fresno State:
  • Division I All-Tournament Team (2019)
Santa Barbara City College:
  • WSC Champions (2015, 2016), 1st Team (2016), & MVP (2015)
  • All American (2015, 2016)
Royal High School
  • Division 4 CIF-SS Champions (2015)


Prior Club Coaching Accomplishments

  • Eric and Natalie Benson ran the 16/18u Girls program at Huntington Beach Water Polo Club from 2009 through 2013.  They competed in the Southern Pacific zone, which was, and still is the most competitive zone in the country.  After JO's in 2013, they departed HB to head across the country so Natalie could start collegiate coaching at Marist College in New York.  Below is a summary of HB's larger accomplishments under that time.  All results were in the Platinum division unless noted:
    • 2009 - Formed the team from scratch
      • 18's finished 12th at JO's  
      • 16's finished 3rd at JO's
    • 2010
      • 16's & 18's finished 5th at JO's,
      • 16's won Cal Cup State Finals
    • 2011 
      • 18u A won SoPac JO Quals.  
      • 18u A team won JOs, 18u B team won Gold division JO's
      • 18u A team 2nd place US Club Championships
      • 16s A finished 7th JO's, 16s B finished 3rd in Gold division JO's. 
      • 16s A won Cal Cup State Finals, 3rd at US Club Championships.
    • 2012
      • 18u A team 2nd place JO's
      • 18u B team 8th place JO's
      • 18u A team 3rd place at US Club Championships
      • 16u A team 4th place JO's, 16u B team 17th place JO's
      • 16u A team 2nd place US Club Championships
    • 2013
      • 18u A team 2nd place JO's
      • 18u B team 4th place Silver division
      • 16's A team 11th place JO's
  • In total, the club made back-to-back-to-back appearances at JO's in the 18u Platinum Championship game, won 4 Junior Olympics Platium medals and won 12 medals overall.