Water polo players train off season to gain advantage

February 6, 2017 — by Roland Shen and Phoebe Wang

Last year the boys on the varsity water polo team ran into an opponent they could not beat: Lynbrook. They just could not match the Vikings’ speed, losing by scores of 7-4 and 11-3.

Now that the season has ended, both the boys’ and girls’ water polo teams are still training to better compete with faster and stronger teams like Lynbrook in the next season. Both aim to qualify for CCS, something neither did in the fall.

Swimming competitively is one of the main ways players stay in shape for the fall season. For example, junior Bradley Oh, who played utility on the varsity team, swims for the SHS team in the spring season.

“Though I consider water polo my main sport, swim season is still important because it helps you get faster every year,” Oh said.

Likewise, junior hole-defense Nathon Chin chose to join the swim team for his first time this year to improve his game this offseason.

“One of my weaknesses in water polo has always been my speed,” Chin said. “Swim season is going to get me a lot faster, thereby eliminating a big weakness of mine.”

As an alternative to joining the swimming team, other players on varsity have also chosen to continue playing water polo for their club teams.

For example, senior hole-set Armin Agha-Ebrahim has an extensive background in club water polo. Having played for clubs like De Anza Cupertino Aquatics (DACA) and West Valley for eight years, he has learned techniques and plays that were never taught during the school season.

“Club taught me how to capitalize on my opponents’ mistakes,” Agha-Ebrahim said. “Whenever I see an opportunity in game to exploit a less-experienced player, I take it.”

Agha-Ebrahim believes that playing for club teams gives an advantage to all athletes who are willing to put in the time. Among these advantages is a better understanding of what to do in real-game situations and a better shooting ability.

According to Agha-Ebrahim, those who don’t play off-season won’t gain the experience or skill required to be top players.

“For any dedicated athlete, training off season whether in swimming or on a club team is so important,” Agha-Ebrahim said. “Not only does spending time outside of a sport’s traditional season keep athletes in shape, but it also shows when the hard work pays off in future seasons.”