We miss our team leader Grier Laughlin, and honor him by continuing what he started. Grier was killed in a terrible auto accident in February of 2011. Our thoughts and prayers continue for his wife and children. Here’s a little background on the man who started our team:
His swimming prowess only increased as he got older. While swimming for Cherry Creek High School he earned All-American honors 11 times. Grier was part of 3 team state championships, and he won numerous state titles in relays while at Cherry Creek.
Grier was accepted to Dartmouth and became captain of the varsity swim team there. This is also where he was first exposed to water polo, playing for the Dartmouth College club team. He loved the challenge of playing water polo and the change it gave him from his usual swimming workouts.
Grier coached youth and high school swimming in the Aurora area, coaching for the Falcon Aquatic Club and Eaglecrest High School. He coached nine All-American swimmers and one National Champion. In 2003, while coaching as an assistant at Grandview, Grier pulled together eight boys from Aurora-area high schools and formed a club. It was a member of that first group who came up with the name, Pirates. Since that time, Grier worked to share the sport with boys and girls in the Denver-metro area. In recent years, Grier started youth leagues so younger kids could try it out. Grier felt the toughness of the game helped build character, and helped prevent burnout for year-round swimmers.
Grier always brought a great combination of hard work and humor to practices. He loved interacting our players, and built meaningful relationships with them through his joking and leadership. He shared fun stories and lines from his favorite movies.
Grier cared about the players outside of the water, getting to know about other aspects of their lives. He was an excellent mentor and role model. He was always available to offer advice and enjoyed writing reference letters for jobs or colleges or college sports teams.
Grier was a loving husband to his wife, Karen, and a very proud father to his three children. He would sometimes bring Addison, Caroline and little Grier to a practice. It was always fun to see the huge smile on his face when his kids were with him.
To honor his legacy Colorado Water Polo has hosted an annual tournament in his name every November since 2011.
Thank you, Grier, for getting it all started, for being a good friend and role model. You were taken from us far too soon. We miss you.