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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Women’s water polo splashes into the season

By Eva Metz

The Grinnell women’s water polo team may not be the most recognized team on campus, but the profile of this intense, fast-paced sport is on the rise. Kristina De La Torre ’14 and Sara Hannemann ’14 captain the team. They are both on the swim team and have played for both the women’s and the co-ed water polo teams at Grinnell.

“I joined a water polo team when I was abroad in Stockholm, and I’m looking forward to teaching the team the skills I learned there,” said  Hannemann.

Team members practice ball handling at water polo on Thursday.
Photo by Jacob Salzman

According to De La Torre and Hannemann, the Grinnell women’s water polo team used to be very successful until a few years ago, when the number of participants diminished sharply. The team has been rebuilding since then, and De La Torre and Hannemann are pleased with the turnout of new players this season.

“I’m really excited for the season,” Hannemann said. “We only graduated one senior, our whole squad from last year is returning, and we have many newcomers ranging from first years to seniors.”

“We have a wide range of abilities,” De La Torre said. “A couple of people have played before. Quite a number haven’t. So I think our goal would be to see an overall improvement.”

Players practice both conditioning and water polo-specific skills, incorporating swimming, treading, passing and shooting. The captains are also hoping to incorporate more dryland exercises into their training this season. Some of the water polo team members are also members of the swim team, but these athletes cannot begin competing with water polo until their swimming season has ended. Therefore, the roster for the team’s first tournament will consist largely of rookie athletes.

“Right now we want to focus a lot more on conditioning and on swimming because the people who will be playing aren’t on the swim team. We need to get them into swimming shape since that’s a big part of the game,” De La Torre said.

The women’s water polo team has three upcoming tournaments this season. First, they will travel to St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota, on the weekend of February 23-24. Their second tournament is at Iowa State University on the weekend of April 6-7. Finally, Grinnell will host the Division Championships on April 20-21. Hannemann and De La Torre hope that many Grinnellians will turn out to support the team for this event.

“Now water polo is sort of off the chart,” De La Torre said. “Nobody really knows that there is a women’s water polo team so mostly we’re just trying to raise awareness.”

De La Torre and Hannemann hope to inspire their teammates to work hard while still maintaining the fun atmosphere at the core of the water polo team.

“This season, we hope to have fun, get everybody playing time, and be more confident in shooting and defense,” said Hannemann.

“Sara and I both want to make it be fun and try really hard to see where we can go with it,” De La Torre said. “Hopefully if people want to they can follow us, but really it’s mostly for fun.”

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