Friday, 11 October 2013

31. Waterpolo

Event: Waterpolo
Date: 8th October 2013
Location: Chelmsford Swimming Club 
Cost: Two free sessions. 
Rules:  Waterpolo is a very physical team sport in which the players of each team try to score as many goals against the opposing team. There are seven players on each team, and games are played in four eight-minute quarters, with two minutes between each quarter. The pool has a minimum 2m depth, and players tread water for the whole game; not allowed to touch the sides or bottom of the pool. Each quarter starts with teams lined up on opposite goal lines; on the whistle the teams sprint towards the centre of the pool where the referee throws the ball in to the water. Players can only touch the ball with one hand, and can swim up to 1500m in one match!

The Event:

Sarah's Team (No Hats): 9
Ellie's Team (Hats): 3
London 2012 Winners: USA

Sarah: It's inevitable that we're going to encounter sports in this challenge that we're not as keen on as others. I wasn't a huge fan of trampolining, and I can now add waterpolo to the list. It's an incredible sport, but just not for me! The lessons we had with the club were really great; the warm ups and drills gave us such an insite to the sport. I'm a fairly confident swimmer, but found being out of my depth for so long quite disconcerting. I'm sure it's something that I would get used to the more I did it, but I found that I was concentrating so much on staying afloat that I couldn't get any power or speed behind my throws, and dropped nearly all of my catches! In our second lesson we had a glimpse of the physical contact involved in the sport.. be prepared for shoves and other players leaning on you to get to the ball! We had a short match at the end of our last lesson, and it was great to see how it's meant to be played (it's fair to say that Ellie and I didn't have too much impact on the goal scoring or defence!). One thing that really came through was how much fun the team appear to have, and how well they all work together. Also how much endurance is needed to play the sport; the speed of changing direction in the pool and the power with which the players lift themselves out of the water and hit the ball is really impressive.  
Ellie: What can I say about waterpolo? If someone asked me to describe the sport in three words I would probably say; demanding, exhausting and violent. Waterpolo makes list of most violent sports! Our training sessions weren't too bruising thankfully but they lasted around two hours and as per waterpolo rules, you're not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool. It's another sport that requires far more from the player that one imagines. The agility needed in the water is mad - you have to change directions so quickly and with such speed! Our training sessions were a little grueling but when I was eventually able to score goals or make good passes it was really satisfying. I was sent to mark Sarah during our game, and it became even clearer just what skills are on show by the other players. The ball was constantly at the opposite end to us as we struggled to get up and down the pool! The definite plus point alongside goal scoring - I got to wear a hat!

The players and coaches at Chelmsford Swimming Club were very patient and accommodating for us, so a big thank you to them! If you'd like to give waterpolo a try, have a look at their website:

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