Water Polo is a new sport at Hamden Hall this year. According to the team’s captain, Michael Ferneini, the idea of creating a water polo team had been in the works for a while, but there was never enough interest to actually go through with it. Last year, the suggestion generated enough interest to warrant further consideration, and Hamden Hall got in touch with Coach Andy. However, the COVID situation made it impossible to start at the time. This year, the coach suggested that since a lot of students were interested in joining the sport, Hamden Hall could finally start a water polo team.
A typical practice for the team differs by day, but Mondays and Wednesdays are usually reserved for conditioning while Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays involve more of the sport. During conditioning days, players swim for about thirty minutes before moving on to passing and shooting. On other days, they start with a quick warmup swim and then shift to passing and shooting activities, drills, and scrimmaging.
The Hamden Hall team is comprised of both students who attend the school and members of another team, called the Hydras. According to Michael, it has been great to work with them this year. He said that after only a few days of practice, the players had already become close friends, noting how refreshing it has been to see new faces between class and practice. He added that there hasn’t been any pushback from either the Hydras or Hamden Hall students, with both groups eager to cooperate with each other.
This year, the team has faced some challenges due to their intense game schedule and unforeseen circumstances. The team often has two games in a day or consecutive game days, but keeping a positive mindset despite the outcome has helped the team perform better overall. Another challenge the team faced came when their goalie got a minor concussion, but players were able to fill in and ensure everything still ran smoothly.
This is the first year that water polo is being offered at Hamden Hall, so not many students know about the sport. When asked about what he would say to students who might want to join the team next year, Michael underscored the sense of community on the team. He said the juniors on the team have been working hard this year, and increased interest among underclassmen could help elevate the team’s success. Overall, he said the team is made up of a great group of both upper and lower classmen, highlighting their efforts to make this season worthwhile. He said the unique sport is tiring but rewarding, teaching important values and skills like teamwork and problem-solving.