Student’s passion for swimming opens up doors to water polo

October 20, 2008 — by Amalie MacGowan and Pia Mishra

After two disappointing losses against Palo Alto on Oct. 7 and Los Gatos on Oct. 14, the members of the girls’ varsity water polo team were delighted with their 11-8 win against Mountain View on Oct. 16. The girls have taken their victory in stride and continue to improve. A big part of their success has been junior Lauren Opatrny who has put her best effort forth in order to strengthen the team. As sprinter on the team, she puts it on herself to make sure the ball gets to her team and that the game stays active.

From the time she began at age six, Opatrny has never stopped swimming. Her passion for swimming has fed into her love for water polo. Opatrny has taken this passion and turned it into drive to constantly improve herself as a member of the team.

After only a few summers of being part of a swim team, it became apparent to Opatrny that she really had a knack for swimming. Whether it was freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly, she always seemed to have it in her to beat the competition. It wasn’t until her sophomore year that she decided she wanted a break.

“I got really sick of swimming all of the time, and lots of my friends were already on the water polo team,” said Opatrny. “Because I was pretty fast, I made it on the varsity team, but I had never played water polo before.”

Opatrny had a hard time becoming accustomed to the rules and regulations of water polo. Since every concept was new to her, she struggled but her strength in swimming helped to keep her ahead in the game.

Even with these difficulties, Opatrny enjoys the sport, seeing it as a respite from her hectic swimming schedule during the year and a fun way to spend time with her friends.

“Many of my friends are on the team, and water polo is a great sport to socialize, yet still work and exercise at the same time,” said Opatrny. She also joked that team dinners may be one of her favorite parts of being on the team.

Opatrny is suffering case from a mild case of bicep tendonitis in her right shoulder. It doesn’t seem to bother her during the games, but it is still a nuiscance to her during everyday practice.

“It isn’t a very serious injury, but hopefully it’ll get better by the end of the season,” said Opatrny.

As a team member, Opatrny tries her best every game to help her team work together. Opatrny feels that one of the best and strongest aspects of the team is the amiable relationship between the girls.

“Lauren’s spontaneity and enthusiasm always pumps up the team,” said coach Courtney Crase. “She has really been improving this year by scoring a lot more goals, and is one of the fastest swimmers I’ve seen.”

With a few weeks left in the season, Opatrny hopes to assist the girls to wins against Los Gatos, Mountain View, Gunn, and Los Altos, teams they will be playing for a second time.

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