By Cole Freshcorn, Staff Writer
If you enjoy swimming, as well as the competitive elements of rugby and basketball, then joining the Denison Water Polo club might be just the thing to get your engine revving. Like many of the club sports offered here at Denison, Water polo is a team water sport, and is co-ed, giving students from both genders the opportunity to work together and field a competitive team. The game consists of 4 quarters in which the two teams attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into the opposing teams goal, with the team that scores the most goals winning the game. A team consists of 6 players and one goalie in the water at any given time. In addition to this, teams may have up to six substitute players, including up to one substitute goalkeeper.
Water polo is a very violent and aggressive sport, meaning that minor fouls occur frequently during play, as well as exclusion fouls, in which a player is suspended from the game for 20 seconds, which are also common. It is played in an all-deep pool, usually at least 1.8 meters deep, meaning that players need considerable stamina and endurance to play the game at a high level.
Some special equipment is need to play water polo, such as a water polo ball, which is a ball made of nylon that floats on the water, very similar to a volleyball, as well as water polo goals, which can either float in the water, or attach to opposing sides of a swimming pool.
In the game’s simplest form, it consists of swimming, both with and without the ball, treading water for long periods of time(using a specific technique called the eggbeater kick or simply eggbeater), throwing and catching the ball, and shooting the ball into the goal using a single hand. Similar to basketball, players do not tend to be only an offensive or defensive player, but rather play as either of these positions depending on where the ball is during play.
The game of water polo itself has seen a rise in popularity since its creation in the late 19th century, as it is now featured as a varsity high school sport, an official NCAA recognized sport, and has been played in the Olympic Games since 1900.
If you are a student that isn’t as keen on the competitive side of water polo, there is still plenty of good reasons to play. Swimming for long periods of time is good for numerous aspects of health, such as toning muscle, improving flexibility, higher brain activity, weight loss and control, a healthier heart, healthier skin and in some instances, healthier hair. Most games are played at four eight minute periods, so that is thirty-two minutes of workout that can help your body in numerous ways.
Chances to get in the pool are limited though, so interested students must act quickly. Practice times are Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm, and Sunday from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Any interested students should contact Michael Tran, president of the club, as well as Chase Hilt and Nicholas Borbe, the Vice-president and Treasurer, respectively. Whether you are interested in scoring goals, or just want to break a sweat, come on in, the water’s fine.