Team maintains COVID-19 guidelines as on-campus practice resumes

October 18, 2020 — by Ethan Lin and Allen Luo

The boys’ water polo team is one of the only teams to take advantage of new guidelines released on June 22 by the Santa Clara County that allowed stable cohorts to practice on campus. Since Sept. 9, players have been practicing their swimming, throwing and shooting in the pool on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

According to boys’ varsity water polo coach Jerome Chung, each player has been assigned his own lanes and has to wear a mask to and from practice. All athletes and parents are required to have completed a clearance waiver, and athletes are checked for possible symptoms before every practice. Players are also required to stay 6 feet apart, with only one person allowed in the locker at all times for bathroom use. 

“We are doing our best to make sure that athletes are keeping their distance and sanitizing the areas they use on the pool deck,” Chung said.

For the team, complying with these guidelines has forced them to focus on different skills than usual. According to Chung, the restrictions allow players to focus more on individual skills like shooting or shot-blocking rather than team concepts. The team will later implement these individual skills into group activities once the guidelines have been lifted and more normal practices can resume. Chung believes that the addition of these improved skills will prove highly beneficial for the team during their season, which will begin on Dec. 14.

While these guidelines have restricted practices to individual drills, the team still has the same goals and hopes to build on their accomplishments from last season. 

“The team is working very hard to develop new skills that will diversify our offensive approach, and having several players returning from last year's championship team will give us a good chance to repeat,” Chung said. 

Many players feel as if these guidelines have not really affected them.

“I’m still able to work on getting in better shape and improving my skills,” said junior Byron Jin. Although practices have stayed relatively the same, players still hope that the current conditions will not worsen. 

“Hopefully we can continue having our current practices,” junior Daniel Jiang said. “They have been helping a lot in terms of exercise and getting us prepared for the season.” 

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