Williston water polo had to adapt to COVID regulations this year, resulting in a more team-focused season for the sport.
Water polo, like other sports, faced regulations that made it hard to practice and play. However, scrimmages did take place so that players could compete. The “senior day” scrimmage took place on Friday Nov. 13.
Regulations were put in place at the beginning of the year to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This had a large effect on fall sports like football, soccer, cross-country, and water polo. All sports had their own way of adapting, but since water polo is in the pool, and it is impossible to wear a mask, some creative solutions were put in place.
At the beginning of the season, there were two separate practice groups. In addition, most of the drills involved ball swimming instead of drills that required players to be close to one another, though those kinds of drills were incorporated once there was an effective way to carry them out.
Liam Coughlin, a senior and captain of the water polo team, thinks that the season felt relatively normal due to the atmosphere.
“I am pleased by how normal the season was able to feel despite not having the opportunity to play other teams,” he said. “I think the water polo team is extremely close-knit and because of this, we kept the energy and morale up throughout the season.”
Liam missed some parts of the season, but still had a good time.
“I missed the long bus rides to away games because I always have found those times to be the best to get to know your teammates,” he said. “However, the closeness of our team made it so even after an intense scrimmage we were all friends in the locker room. I certainly had fun this year, more fun than I was expecting to. I really hope I can come back next year and participate in a practice for old time’s sake, as I will surely miss the boys.”
Nathan Shatz, another senior captain, is disappointed he didn’t have any games, but is happy the team was still able to have chemistry.
“Having been here for four years and having a game schedule every year, and now being a senior and a captain, it was disappointing not to have those games,” he said. “But I’m really glad we got the extra time to improve as a team, not only in our water polo skills, but in our connections person to person.”
Nathan also had a good time and enjoyed being a captain this season.
“I have fun every year, and I enjoyed meeting new players this year,” he said. “Being a captain under these weird circumstances meant more responsibility. We had captain’s practices every Tuesday which gave me and Liam more flexibility with what we wanted to do with the team… It was very validating to watch the players improve, especially the new ones.”
Water polo was not the only sport that had to adapt to COVID restrictions. Soccer, another fall sport, was forced to make changes. Henry Wiemeyer, a junior soccer player, also felt his team improvised well.
“Through our coaches, I was able to truly improve every aspect of my play style even though we had no games,” he said. “The coaches were still able to make practice serious, efficient, and fun … I was still enjoying every day of practice to the fullest.”