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An Exclusive Exposé of the Women’s Water Polo Team

Let’s take a journey behind the scenes of the most underrated team on campus: women’s water polo. You may be asking yourself: Williams has a water polo team? The answer is yes. You may also be wondering: What exactly is water polo? This answer is slightly more complicated. The simple answer is a cross between handball, soccer, and basketball, but in a pool. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that water polo is so much more than just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. The few brave souls who have decided to play water polo in the purple valley will tell you that. Here are some of the reasons you may want to consider joining this hidden gem of a team.

  1. Learn new skills

Most people get to college and continue to do the same things they did in high school but with slightly more intensity. Did you like math? Well, now you can take multiple math classes at a time! School newspaper? Get ready to spend more hours in the Record office than you thought possible! You get the drift. Most people stop learning new things and start specializing around this time of life, but water polo is a great way to ensure that you appease your inner child and pick up a new skill set. Most people who come to Williams have never even seen a water polo game, so joining this team is an amazing way to pick up new skills, which is a huge confidence booster, and satisfy your playful and inquisitive side.

  1. Release pent-up aggression

    Let’s be honest. Most of us are carrying around a little bit (or a lot) of rage. It’s normal!

Those little things throughout the day build up. Maybe it’s that guy in your math class

who chews abnormally loud, or the person in front of you who could NOT be walking any slower. Pet peeves like those annoy us just a little bit at a time, and at the end of the day, blowing off some steam can feel amazing! Water polo is the perfect outlet. Not only is it a great workout that gets your heart pumping, but it’s also a full contact sport. In normal day to day life, there could be serious social consequences if you let your rage take the wheel and end up getting a little physical. But in water polo, you are allowed (and encouraged!) to shove a couple players out of the way while you sprint towards that ball. Get fierce in the pool with us and stay civilized on land.

  1. Travel to other schools

    Every season, we have three tournaments and a couple of scrimmages. Most of them are

away, and we get to travel a fair amount. Tournaments are definitely one of the most fun parts of the season. First, there’s the car trip. An hour or two of napping or chatting, and then the last 20 minutes we channel the Work Out Twerk Out Spotify playlist to get pumped for our games. Then, obviously, we play some polo. We’re not the strongest, fastest, or most skilled team out there. You probably expected me to say, “but we’ve got a heart!”. But I’m not even sure we qualify for that. JK, we do have heart. We just get out there, have fun, and try our best. After our games, there’s always an epic team dinner. We surf the internet to scope out the restaurant scene beforehand, and then we really go to town. Night-life varies from school to school. Some nights we buy pints of ice cream at the grocery store and have a team-bonding night in our hotel rooms. And others, we make plans to ~go out~. Both are crazy fun, and if you’re not there, you’re missing out.

  1. Great exercise

    Have you ever been so out of breath that you have started viewing other people as

personal flotation devices? No? Well, here’s your chance! In the interest of full disclosure, water polo is tiring. Over the years, water polo has had members who were also on the crew, swim, softball, field hockey, and cross country teams, and they can all agree that water polo may be the most physically challenging of all. Not only are you swimming back and forth constantly, you are also shooting and catching while watching out for the opposing team. That said, most of the time you barely even notice how tired you are because there are so many other things to think about. This is what makes it such a great work out. After practice, you’ll get out of the pool (beached whale style of course) and realize how tired you really are. Within a few weeks, you’ll notice new muscles pretty much everywhere and be addicted to that post-practice endorphin rush. While water polo is certainly tough, that’s what keeps us coming back. If you only have one hour to work out every day, play water polo. You’ll definitely see and feel results! (Note: We do not condone the use of humans as personal flotation devices...unless they’re a lifeguard, and then that’s basically their job, right? No, but seriously friends don’t float on friends. Or lifeguards.)

  1. Positive Body Image

    One of the other great things about water polo is how body-positive the team is. First off,

no one can maintain the illusion of daintiness once we go to snack bar dinner post-practice. It’s tough to think about being cute while you shovel PB&J fries into your mouth and wash it down with a chocolate shake. While we all want to fuel our bodies well so we stay healthy and become better players, playing water polo has helped a lot of us develop better relationships with food. Unlike some teams that promote a culture of restrictive and über disciplined eating, water polo has a really enjoyable balance between indulging and fueling. In one phrase, our mentality is “treat yourself, but also make sure you can still jump in a pool and sprint for 45 minutes afterward”. The other great thing about water polo is that all body types can play and be successful. Almost everybody type has distinct advantages in water polo! Long arms? Perfect for interceptions! Big butt? I use mine for extra buoyancy! Short? Harder to grab onto in the water! Water polo celebrates every type of physique, which makes it a great way to appreciate all of the good stuff you already have going on while admiring that extra bicep definition in your shooting arm.

  1. Meeting great friends

Not to be cheesy, but we’re ending this list with the most important incentive. Friendship!

As a famous philosopher once said, “F is for friends who play water polo together”. Going through the tough stuff, like sprint sets that never end or that split second where you think your teammate is actually going to drown you, make the fun times that much more amazing. And because club water polo is a relatively (extremely) low-stakes situation (none of us are moving to Cali and going pro), practice is definitely dominated by the fun times. When I go to practice, I really feel like I’m just meeting up with a bunch of friends to hang out at the pool. All the other things that come along with that are just bonuses. I never laugh harder than when I’m at practice, and that’s because of the people.

 

In conclusion, join water polo. We want you, and we know you want us too.