Waterpolo – A new sport at Branham

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The boys water polo team practice.

Jocelyn Shepherd, Staff writer

Waterpolo is a new sport at Branham. Although the pandemic has brought changes to the sports program, Water Polo plays on. Their season, normally played in fall, was postponed to spring. Water Polo played its first game against Pioneer on Monday the 15th at Branham. 

 

Unfortunately, Waterpolo lost the game. However, on March 26 the Branham water polo team went up against Leigh and came out with its first win. When asked about the first game, 

 

Freshman Rayan Gore said, “We were playing against an organized team and this is our first year and the first team that we played against. They’ve had a team for a very long time, so they’re very organized already. I know it’s not affecting my morale or anything because I know that they’re a better team and in the next few years we probably would be able to beat them”.

 

Water Polo is a new team here at Branham and it had to go through a process for it to actually become a team.

 

Tim Daszko, the Water Polo Head Coach at Branham said, “So the way that I understand it, they had to start a club first. Once that club was established, they had to get enough membership to show that there was enough interest on campus to add the sport. And then once that interest was deemed enough. Then, through the club and some fundraising, they were able to get some of the lane lines and balls and cages and things like that so it minimized or spread out the investments of adding new sports over some time.”

 

Waterpolo is a new sport so the fact that it started amid Covid didn’t help spread the publicity at all. 

 

“Covid really pushed back our schedule as well, because water polo is usually a fall sport, and it pushed us back into the spring season.” Gore states, “But, at the beginning of water polo before we got clearance we couldn’t even get in the water so we were doing outside conditioning to get us ready for like inside the water work, and then eventually when we did get inside the water we had to socially distance until we got the go-ahead to go full content.”

 

Branham water polo has been taking many precautions against covid.

 

Junior Matthew Knudsen states, “Our coach typically deals with the screening, takes our temperature, and asks us all the questions like are we feeling well, have we traveled outside of the county, and all of that. But then, aside from that, it’s up to the students and the players to decide”

 

On Friday, March 26 the water polo game went up against Leigh, Branham’s rival and came away with their first win. 

 

“The first few games that we played were against teams that have been established for 10, 15, even 20 years. You know their water polo programs have been there, they are known on campus as one of the options for students at those high schools.” Daszko said, “Here, water polo is not one of those. So, students that are sophomores, juniors, seniors may have never known that we established a water polo team and with kids coming back on campus and with students talking with each other and hanging out with each other more and more going forward.”

 

 Dazko who had just started coaching in 2020, states, “I think our program will grow organically and exponentially, but it’s hard when you have the majority of your team never touching a water polo ball before.”

 

Although the team has been held back due to covid, they still have many different hopes for the future of Branham Water Polo

 

“Our team this year is mainly freshmen so I’m hoping that they’ll come out again next year and the team will continue to grow.” Knudsen states, “I’m also hoping that next year there will be a women’s team, because I know there’s a lot of people interested in that.”

Infact, Branham is searching for people who are interested in being on the women’s water polo team for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

“For the immediate future getting the excitement Branham increased to the point where we have enough interest in the sport that we can make a varsity JV team and a girls team.” Dazko said,  “And then the extended feature is to make Branham water polo a fun, enjoyable and rewarding place.”

 

Water polo is still a thriving and fun sports program offered at Branham.

Gore states, “Branham has a really bright Water Polo future. I think in the next couple of years we can be a really strong team.”