Village News Reporter
Fallbrook High School honored Doug Pearce as the school’s male student-athlete of the year for 2021-22.
“Really proud of him, what he’s accomplished over four years here,” said Fallbrook athletic director Patrick Walker.
Pearce was on Fallbrook’s varsity water polo team for four seasons and on the Warriors’ varsity swim team for four years.
“I think he’s very deserving,” said Bill Richardson, who was Fallbrook’s boys water polo coach and boys swim coach for all four of Pearce’s high school seasons.
“I was completely surprised. I thought it would go to some other athlete,” Pearce said. “All I could think of is all the hard work I’ve put in in the last four years finally paid off.”
Pearce was born at Fallbrook Hospital on April 16, 2004, and is a lifelong Fallbrook resident. He is actually Doug Pearce IV and his father, Doug Pearce III, swam and played water polo for the Warriors. Doug Pearce IV was 2 when he started swimming and 4 when he began playing water polo. He attended Iowa Street School from kindergarten through fourth grade, La Paloma Elementary School for fifth and sixth grades, and Potter Junior High School for seventh grade and eighth grade.
As a freshman on the Warriors’ water polo team, Pearce scored the winning goal in overtime for the Warriors’ first league win of 2018. In his Feb. 27, 2019, high school swimming debut, Pearce won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly, both with CIF meet automatic qualifying times, and was also part of the Warriors’ winning 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
Fallbrook won the 2019 Valley League championship and, at the league meet, Pearce swam the butterfly on the winning 200-yard medley relay team and moved the Warriors into first place during his portion of the race. That day he placed second in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 500-yard freestyle. At the 2019 CIF meet, Pearce was sixth in the 200-yard individual medley and part of the Warriors’ sixth-place 200-yard medley relay team.
During his sophomore water polo season in 2019, the Valley League coaches placed Pearce on the all-league first team. Pearce opened the 2020 swim season with an automatic qualifying time in the individual medley, but the coronavirus shutdown ended the season after three pre-league meets.
Because of concerns about contact with others the 2020-21 swim season preceded the water polo season, and Pearce not only won the 100-yard butterfly league championship but also set a Valley League meet record. He was sixth in the 100-yard butterfly at the 2021 CIF meet, anchored the 200-yard freestyle relay team which finished second, and was the first swimmer for the 400-yard relay team which took third place. He was a first-team Valley League selection in water polo as a junior.
Pearce began his senior water polo season with seven goals, four assists, and four steals in the Warriors’ win over San Dieguito Academy. He scored 125 goals during the season and was a Valley League first-team player for the third season in a row.
Fallbrook’s 2022 swim season began March 4, and Pearce won both of his individual races and both of his relay events. At the league meet finals April 29, he won the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly and was part of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
In the CIF finals May 7, Pearce was 10th in the 100-yard butterfly and 14th in the 50-yard freestyle. Fallbrook took third in both freestyle relay races while setting school records of 1:27.03 in the 200-yard event and 3:12.23 in the 400-yard competition; Pearce anchored the 200-yard race and led off the 400-yard relay. Pearce concluded his high school aquatics career at the CIF state meet May 14, participating in the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay races.
“Very deserving athlete, very dominating in both water polo and swimming,” Richardson said.
“I’m super happy for Doug,” Richardson said of the school award. “I think it’s a great honor for swimming and water polo to have one of our athletes recognized.”
Setting the school records at the CIF meet and qualifying for the state meet are Pearce’s favorite Fallbrook High School sports memories. Watching his friends graduate is his favorite overall high school memory. His favorite class was the mythology course Remy Kirkham taught. Pearce took a 3.2 grade point average into his final high school semester.
Pearce will continue his swimming and water polo career at Golden West Community College, which has won the past five California Community College Athletic Association water polo state championships.