Water polo: The determination to stay afloat

Photo courtesy of Chase Daniels

Photo courtesy of Chase Daniels

By Julia Fisher

If there were an award for the most physically demanding sport, water polo would win.

Described as a combination of the quickness of ice hockey, the physicality of football, the endurance of long-distance running, and the intensity of swimming, the sport requires an incredible amount of exertion both physically and mentally.

In fact, based on scores for endurance, speed, agility, strength, skill and physicality, water polo comes out on top for the toughest sport in the world, according to an analysis by correspondent for the Bleacher Report, Chris Siddell.

Living proof of the intensity of the sport are the Granada Hills Charter High School water polo players themselves.

Consisting of freshman/sophomore, junior varsity and varsity divisions for boys, and a varsity level for girls, the water polo team has gone to more tournaments and finished with higher rankings than teams of supposedly higher caliber.

At the recent Santa Maria Valley Tournament on September 12th and 13th, Varsity Boys finished in second place, scoring an impressive 53 goals throughout the weekend.

The water polo team members attribute much of their success to intense daily practices at the San Fernando Regional Pool.

Training consists of 15 minutes of legs and a passing warm up, an hour of swim sets ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 yards, 45 minutes of game level drills, and 20 minutes of game level sprints at the end to build endurance and muscle.

“You have to learn to keep up with the rest and make yourself stronger at all costs, but most importantly, to have the power, the will, to keep going,” sophomore water polo member Jasmin Perez said.  “In water polo, size isn’t everything, you have to have the skill to succeed.”

While many have heard tales about the endurance, strict training and mental determination required to excel in competitive water polo, few people realize the violence associated with the sport.

“There are no words to explain the amount of action that happens under the water, and that is often where teams gain the upper hand– by kicking, punching suit grabbing, and more.

I have been injured by others by being dunked underwater, choked, and sucker punched both in and out of the water,” senior and varsity captain Chase Daniels said.

The physical abilities of water polo players impress even experts.  Water polo players not only train vigorously, but also face a gamut of violence under the water.

From commendably treading water for two hours at a time to vigorously fending off the opposing teams’ sharks under water, the water polo team deserves much respect and admiration for their steadfast training and passion for the sport.

On November 10th, they faced Roosevelt High School and beat them 13-7. Since they beat Roosevelt in the quarter final round, the Highlanders go on to play Birmingham for the semi-final title on Thursday.

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