Say goodbye to the powerful eggbeater kicks, the aggressive, near-drowning contact, and the boom of violent blocks being echoed throughout the arena.
As the water polo season ends, many players are giving up the seven-man sport and exchanging it for the blue lanes of the upcoming swimming season. According to senior Cesar Carillo, water polo and swimming are completely different.
“[In swimming] we don’t get to get out the goals and talk as much…it’s more serious, and the coach expects a lot more effort from you,” Carillo said. “It’s more competitive…You are a lot more of an individual in swimming than water polo.”
According to head water polo and swimming coach Mark Sullivan, the team-bonds, momentum, and enthusiasm from the successful water polo season will carry over to swimming. However Senior Maureen Sullivan said the transition between the two sports isn’t as easy as jumping into the pool again.
“Water polo players usually don’t look forward to [the change] because swimming [is] a lot more dedication [and] a lot more hard work,” Maureen said. “[In water polo] you have a game once a week so you have something to look forward to each week, but [in] swimming you have four months of training…so you have to stay focused for a lot longer.”
Carillo and Maureen both said they personally prefer swimming. However, there are also athletes that stand on the other side of the spectrum, including junior Greg Gruseck, who said he uses swimming to train for the next year’s water polo season.
“I like water polo a lot more than I like swimming,” Gruseck said. “Swimming [is] just something I have to do to stay in shape for water polo.”
According to Mark, the upcoming swimming season will entail three morning practices, five afternoon practices, and one Saturday practice — for a total of nine per week. Mark said the intense demands of swimming, like any sport, can spur negativity in athletes, but he tries to make the best of it.
“A lot of kids think swimming is very very boring [because] all they do is move up and down that lane on that black and white line,” Mark said. “I know there’s not a lot of fun in it, but [I try to] make it engaging [and] try to make it so it’s not so mundane.”
According to senior Alyssa Sincheck, it’s beneficial to have the same coach all year looking over both sports.
“I think our relationship with him is a lot stronger, and it helps a lot,” Sincheck said. “He knows basically everyone pretty individually, and he really wants the best for each and every one of us.”
Sincheck said that the water polo accomplishments have motivated the athletes for the swimming season.
“I think we’re all pretty pumped for the swim season [because] this is the first year we’ve ever…won state for water polo,” Sincheck said. “So we wanna carry on the success and try and push for it this year for swimming.”