Girls water polo splashes into another season

With a handful of new swimmers for the new season, the NPHS girls water polo team has not let the pandemic get in the way. From swimming laps to perfecting their treading water skills, these girls hope to return as a team as soon as possible.

Ella Blackburn, senior, has been playing water polo for the school all four years. However, this year practice looks a little different. “Other than freestyling in the pool, we’ve also been learning and practicing treading which has been kind of hard,” Blackburn said.

She and her teammates were picked by their coach to help slowly bring members back to condition. “We all swim in different lanes, doing laps going back and forth for two hours,” Blackburn said.

Bryanna Gregory, senior, is one of the few who have returned to the pool.

The team has been doing a variety of different workouts. “We’re doing lots of leg drills and we do something called a pyramid, where we work our way up and back from 30 seconds [a type of swimming exercise],” Gregory said.

From meeting new members to bonding during games, the girls have lost a lot of the social parts of playing to social distancing. “We can’t meet the incoming freshmen,” Gregory said. “It’s always fun to meet up with your friends and you tend to want to give them a hug or a handshake or something after a game or scrimmage. And it’s just really unfortunate that you can’t have that contact.”

Sophia McClanahan, senior, returned to the pool this season with a drastic change in practice. “There’s only 10 allowed per day for practice… so some groups will go at one time and another group will go to another time zone. I have only seen the girls that were on my team last year,” McClanahan said. “There is no ball passing or any physical contact with each other, which is kind of sad.”

With this being their final year on the team, seniors are sad they cannot return back like a normal team, but anything could happen these next few months. “I’m trying to remain hopeful, but we probably won’t have a normal season,” Gregory said.

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