Women’s Water Polo Combines Athleticism, Teamwork

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When Ezgi Eyigor arrived at BU remaining 12 months, she at once searched for a membership swim group. She was swimming on account that she turned into 8 and desired to hold. When she went to BU’s annual student sports truthful Splash, she noticed a group of guys carrying Speedos and asked whether or not they had been at the swim group.
“They were like, ‘No, we play water polo,’” sophomore Eyigor (CAS) recollects.
Her interest became piqued, so that they directed her to a nearby desk, in which members of the women’s club water polo group spoke to curious students. Eyigor, who had by no means even seen a water polo match, become hooked.
The membership crew is open to players of many talent tiers. “A lot of contributors haven’t played water polo before,” fourth-12 months head instruct Joanna Chan (SHA’12) says. “They both best have a swimming background, or a few girls didn’t even swim before coming here. They just jumped in trying to attempt something new.”
That changed into the case for four-year team veteran senior Maddie Thomas (SHA), this year’s president. Despite being a swimmer growing up, the Beverley, Mass., local had barely heard of the sport previous to coming to BU.
Freshman 12 months, she and senior Sabrina Reilly (CAS) “had been the most effective those who hadn’t played water polo at the group,” Thomas says, acknowledging that it took a while to get experience for the game. “It’s clear when you’re slowing down the exercise, and it changed into simply a whole lot of strain being the only losing the ball and now not understanding wherein to head.”

The recreation is physically stressful: gamers should be strong swimmers, capable of tread water, pass the ball, and shoot at goal. It calls for loads of teamwork as correctly. Matches include four quarters, and the two competing groups try to score by throwing the ball into the opposing team’s purpose.
Although the crew competes in most straightforward three tournaments all through the spring semester, the time dedication is worrying: players meet four instances a week for 2-hour practices. And those practices may be rigorous, in particular for gamers new to the game. Eyigor remembers an in particular attempting day last 12 months when she didn’t feel correct about gambling. “But after practice, a teammate reached out and said that water polo shouldn’t be a stress-inducing factor in my lifestyles,” she says. “It has to be a strain remedy. And that modified my mindset going ahead.”
Players say that the group fosters a robust experience of community. They consume collectively, study together, and tour together—maximum recently to a training session in California that ended up focusing extra on organization bonding due to weeklong rain. (Most education swimming pools in Southern California are exterior.)
“If some thing’s going wrong, you tell every other on Snapchat, and those come for your room with chocolate,” Eyigor says.“It’s more than a community. It’s a circle of relatives, for certain.”
“I met my quality pal thru BU water polo,” Thomas says. “I met numerous people right here that I’ll remain pals with for the relaxation of my life.”
That started the game needs a variety of physical play and competitiveness.
“Anything the ref can’t see is criminal, so there are quite a few underhanded plays that happen to attempt to enhance the ball,” says junior Madie Janik (CAS). “That’s very innate to the sport.”
Injuries are not uncommon, which isn’t unexpected for the reason that the sport is played with a “ball that’s a length of a volleyball, however with the density of a basketball being hurled,” she says.
One of the few contributors to have played water polo earlier than college, Janik has suffered 3 concussions at some point of her playing career: two from barred photographs—which means that within the intention try, the ball hit the top of the sidebar of the purpose earlier than hitting her head—and one from a punch at the same time as she changed into getting chased out of the aim. After the most recent one freshman 12 months, she turned into forced to surrender her role as a goalkeeper.