Summer practices prepare water polo for the upcoming season

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Summer practices prepare water polo for the upcoming season

Freshman Maddy Ting tries to get the ball while on defense.

Freshman Maddy Ting tries to get the ball while on defense.

Sophie Lynd

Freshman Maddy Ting tries to get the ball while on defense.

Sophie Lynd

Sophie Lynd

Freshman Maddy Ting tries to get the ball while on defense.

Sophie Lynd, Highlander Editor-in-Chief

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While most students were enjoying their last month of summer vacation, the boys and girls water polo teams woke up early for their summer practices.

Starting at the end of July, teams practiced every morning from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in the Glenn Kovas Aquatic Center at Carlmont working on conditioning both inside and outside of the pool.

“Every Tuesday and Thursday we conditioned for half an hour before practice by running, doing burpees, and squats,” said Nicole Turk, a junior.

According to Turk, the pool was split between JV and Varsity on the remaining days; one team would tread with a weighted ball in the deeper end while the other swam laps in the shallow end. The teams alternated ten-minute sessions and continued this for the rest of practice.

Similarly, the boys’ team focused on conditioning rather than playing during their practices.

“We did a ton of conditioning for two weeks every day and the reward at the end of a good practice was getting to scrimmage,” Hunter Hawkes, a junior, said.

While the main goal of these early practices was getting back in shape for the season, players got their hands back on the ball later in the summer when boys’ varsity coach Justine Hedlund hosted a summer camp to improve technical skills of the game.

Adrian Cunningham, a junior, is new to the team this year and said, “The camp taught us far more about the sport and made it easy to learn how to play.”

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  • JV girls water polo runs scrimmage drills in the deep end of the pool while girls varsity swims laps in the shallow end.

  • Sophomore Kristina Tikhonova reaches for the ball on offense.

  • Juniors Amy Fullerton, Katrina Wiebenson, and Manon Llorach swim laps during their weekly practices.

  • Freshman Maddy Ting tries to get the ball while on defense.

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Although these days were often early and exhausting, the end result was feeling ready for the upcoming season and getting to bond with teammates, both new and old.

“No one wanted to get up at 6:00 a.m., but we all did because we love the sport,” said Sarah Brown, a junior. “Games also start up pretty early in the season so it’s good to get a head start.”

Brown feels that the love of the sport motivated players during their workouts, but Cunningham feels that it’s the difficulty of the sport that keeps everyone going.

“I feel that the sheer difficulty of this sport really helps our team to bond. Every day we put our bodies through hell and afterward we are proud of each other,” Cunningham said. “We are a close team [now] and we hold each other accountable.”

Girls varsity plays their next game on Aug. 31 against Palo Alto High School and boys varsity plays Burlingame High School on Sept. 6.

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