Varsity water polo community explains the prioritizing of student-athlete life


Lexi Romanowsky

Carlmont varsity junior and goalie Thaddeus Duffy perseveres through a tough loss against Woodside.

Defining priorities as a student-athlete is something that many face. For varsity players, the sport they play comes with it. 

Dedicated boys varsity water polo players from both Woodside and Carlmont high schools agree that the sport requires skill and dedication. When it comes to maintaining good grades, a social life, and free time, varsity water polo is a major commitment.

“It is a lot of practicing and hard work that you just have to push through and do to get better,” said Oliver Crawford-Shelmadine, a junior and a Carlmont varsity water polo team captain. 

Crawford-Shelmadine has been swimming since he was 6 years old and used to admire his older sister’s dedication to the sport. He then became interested in water polo, and said, “It’s a lot of fun.”

Water polo itself requires high physical strength and endurance. It is said to be one of the most challenging sports because of the dangers if the players are not well-conditioned.

“It is really not like any other sport. It’s difficult mentally, emotionally, and physically,” said Carlmont’s acting head coach Mike Standlee when describing his time playing water polo during college.

Players train to adjust to the intensity of water polo. Although the sport requires much of a player’s after school time, students can find a balance that works for them. 

Both water polo and swimming are “high intensities” according to Carlmont senior Christian Buke, but “you get used to it” with a daily routine of school, practice, homework, and sleep. 

Some students play school sports for the social aspect of it, even if managing school and SAT preparation is a priority.

Woodside’s Will Kreidler, a junior, does varsity water polo just for fun and is not too interested in playing college sports. His father, Tim Kreidler, mentioned his son’s commitment to boy scouts as a beneficial introduction to balancing priorities.

“You have to fail to learn,” Tim Kreidler said. Will Kreidler will continue his junior year learning and pursuing school-related responsibilities like the SAT.

Woodside senior and varsity team captain Duncan Vaughan, who takes advanced classes while playing water polo, said that balancing water polo and schoolwork is “a lot of stress, but I am able to get my work done.”

Playing a high-intensity sport like varsity water polo is physically and emotionally challenging. Although it can be a struggle, the learning experience comes with student-athlete life.

“Water polo is tough. To succeed, you need to work hard,” said Bruno Antonion, the Woodside varsity boys water polo coach.