By Arlene Sanchez
Although water polo may seem like soccer in the water, there is so much more involved in the sport. It is a competitive sport that takes place between two teams of seven in the water who try to score in the other team’s goal. However, players must swim around and tread water during the entire game. Also, as much of the game takes place under the water, where refs cannot always see the game play, it has a reputation for being a rougher sport. Water polo players must therefore be both dedicated and eager.
Although this was a tough season, the school’s girls water polo team definitely has that drive to compete. They recently completed their 2022-2023 season with their final match against Eagle Rock High School on January 30. Though the match was a loss (11-13), the girls were proud of their efforts.
“There are many great high school water polo teams we go against, but with some more fine-tuning of our skills and more scrimmage time, we’ll be able to improve and do well in future games,” said sophomore Danielle Lee.
They began the season with a good start, winning their first game against Calabasas High School, following with a win against Van Nuys High School. However, the competition rose steeply for the rest of the season, giving the girls more drive to push their hardest next year. Their toughest competitor is El Camino Real Charter High School. They face this school multiple times in a season.
“I think our greatest competitor is El Camino, because we are always head to head,” sophomore Hope Isavi said.
Compared to the previous season, the team has made major improvements. This year they have won over seven games, while previously last year they only won three games.
“I am happy with our improvement since last year, we have grown as a team too,” junior Natalie Reyes said.
Training for the sport can be as rigorous as game play. The girls work hard to improve each season.
This sport is very physically demanding because of the endurance needed to stay in the water for long periods of time. During training the student athletes wear weighted belts in the water to help with strengthening their calves and arms during training.
“We have to train to strengthen our muscles to help us with the deep pool. It is a penalty to touch the floor of the pool; so we have to use this technique called eggbeaters, to not exhaust ourselves,” Reyes said.
The eggbeater kick is a style of kicking where swimmers complete one-legged breaststroke kicks, alternating legs each time. This keeps hands free to shoot or control the ball. The kick requires extreme amounts of stabilization, which is why the girls have to train so hard.
Although their season may be over, the girls are dedicated to continue training so that they can come back and compete even harder next year.