By Saba Nia ’19
The middle school water polo team is comprised of 12 to 15 seventh and eighth graders and began its biweekly practices on Sept. 19. The practices, which are coached by newcomers Jorge Perez Romero and Sasha Bucur, take place every Monday and Wednesday at the Marshall Center pool from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
The season marks the revival of the middle school water polo team which, in previous years, was abandoned due to a low number of participants. Middle school math teacher and former head of the middle school team Daniel Reeves ’94 appreciates the reintroduction of the middle school water polo team.
“We’ve – as in the varsity team – always appreciated the support, reinforcement and experience of players who’ve come up through the [water polo] program. It would be awfully nice if we were to gather momentum and get that training ground for [the water polo team] open again,” Reeves said.
The middle school team serves as an introduction to the sport and focuses on the basics of water polo. Though the team is large enough to play in tournaments, the team will not compete in any matches. During practices, players first complete a swimming warm-up, then spend the rest of their time learning the basics of the game and practicing swimming with and shooting balls.
The middle school program differs from higher level teams that spend more time on tactics and getting players in shape. Romero, who also coaches the Los Angeles Valley College water polo team, has students focus more on the basics of the game than training and wants to provide a fun and welcoming environment to the sport.
“I want to make the kids interested in water polo and have them play in high school,” Romero said.
The middle school team is completing its goals of getting students interested in water polo in the future, and students are not only excited about the remainder of the season but about future ones as well.
“I think water polo is a very fun sport, and I’ll probably continue it in high school,” Abby Wiesenthal ’20 said.