Girls water polo set to practice in swim-gym again next week


Ava Seccuro staff writer
The girls varsity and JV water polo teams will be able to practice in the pool again as of next week after a month-long hiatus due to a malfunction of the pool heater. The heater was replaced on Monday; however, it takes two to three days to reheat the pool. Therefore the teams will start practicing on Dec. 17.  
On Oct. 30, the team received news that the swim-gym pool heater was broken, and that maintenance would need to order a new one because the part was irreparable. The team expected to get back in the pool by early November. The replacement took longer than claimed, and the water polo teams are just now having practice time in the pool. They have been practicing on land for the majority of their season.
As they are still in preseason, most of the practice the team has gotten, aside from running and dry land conditioning, has been at away games in the pools at other schools.
“We still have games, so basically the only practice that we have gotten are at the away games in the other schools,” JV right wing freshman Melina Rosen said. “That definitely does put us at a disadvantage when they have their own pools and they can practice.”
For players who are just starting out, like Rosen, simply going over plays on dry land is not enough.
“Since we are JV and this is the first time we have [played], I definitely think we should get more practice in to go over all the rules of the game,” Rosen said. “Sometimes I’m not quite sure what’s going on.”
Although many of the returners have had two to three years of water polo game experience under their belts, a challenge for varsity has been keeping up with the pace of the game because they have not been able to swim in over a month.
“The way it’s affected us is that we’re so out of breath and out of shape whenever we play games since we haven’t been practicing,” varsity wing junior Malea Hayles said. “I think at first when we start the game it’s okay, but then after the first quarter, it’s hard for us to keep going since we haven’t been practicing at all.”
Both JV and varsity have each won two out of their four games so far, and head coach Shadi Eghbali accredits the wins to a few key players, but claims that sometimes experience is not enough to compensate for the obstacles that the teams experience.
“Water polo just takes a little bit of practice,” Eghbali said. “Our players on varsity were experienced for two to three years; right now some of them are on the team. We have one or two talented, very experienced players. It helps us to win the games. But it was tough for [varsity] because physically, they are behind, physically they need more swimming..
Amid the disadvantages of not having a working pool up until now, members on the team generally have a positive outlook on the season.
“It’s not necessarily totally negative. We are hopeful to win the games,” Rosen said. “We do know that we’re at a disadvantage so it might not be super likely for us to win, but we’re still very hopeful.”
Above all else, Eghbali and coach Ahmad Hosseni have been encouraging the girls and have been persistent throughout the season toward getting back in the water.
“[The coaches] try to stay on top of it to get people to come in a fix stuff and they still have been scheduling a lot of preseason games before we actually get into league,” Hayles said. “They’ve been good about getting us games against Torrance and Burbank and going over plays, but they’re also just ready for us to be back in the pool which would help everyone.”
Varsity’s next game is away against the North Torrance Saxons today at 5:00 p.m.