Olympic Mathlete

Alum James Graham

Alum James Graham '03 at London 2012 Olympics. Photo courtesy James Graham.

James Graham ‘03 knew his mathematics degree from the University of Redlands would take him farhe just didn’t know it would be to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Graham flew across the pond to conduct statistical analysis for the U.S. men’s water polo team. Graham, who also coaches men’s and women’s water polo at the University of the Pacific, has been providing statistical analysis for the team since April, and created a computer program that “tracks all the tactical decisions a team makes on both offense and defense throughout a game,” he said. “Then that data gets organized in a manner that helps me analyze specific situations.”

Although Graham inputs most of the data while watching games live, “I could not do this alone,” he said. “There is a team of us that worked together to build this system. The idea was to create a way of understanding how the game is actually won or lost.”

Graham received a strong foundation during his time at the University, when he was mentored by Dr. Sandy Koonce and Dr. Tamara Veenstra.

“They taught me how to think creatively while using systematic logic to solve problems,” he said. “This is exactly what has allowed me to get where I am today. I could never thank them enough for changing my life.”

Graham is looking forward to returning home to his wife, Kelley, daughter, Maggie, and his water polo teams, but said he will never forget what it felt like walking into the Olympic park for the first time.

“It was unbelievably exciting,” he said. “You can feel all of the energy from everyone and it is unlike anything I have experienced before. Everyone is just full of emotion.”

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