As the upcoming water polo spring season approaches, the Lightning girls varsity team has started to prepare for it. One of the main objectives the team works on is conditioning, which consists of swimming and working out at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Weston. Junior wing Sara Briones said conditioning prior to the season is essential to help determine which girls are qualified to be a part of the team.
“At conditioning, the players can create and strengthen bonds prior to season,” Briones said. “There are only so many practices prior to the first game. Therefore, the girls need to prepare as much as possible by swimming laps before going into strategies and scrimmages during the season.”
In addition to conditioning with the team, Briones attends the gym everyday to work on strength and endurance. She said working out has improved her abilities in the pool, making her a better player.
“Personally, the gym helps me more than swimming to prepare for the season,” Briones said. “I need to work on my strength rather than swimming because the sport involves more endurance rather than learning how to swim.”
Last year, the Lightning lost in the district championship against Cooper City High School in overtime, with a final score of 7-8. Briones said the players are striving for a district championship this year in hopes of redeeming themselves.
“I am very confident in our team this year to come out with a district win,” Briones said. “Last year, it was devastating to lose after all of the hard work the team had put into the season. [However], we will be able to fix past mistakes and change the way we play the game as a team in order to win.”
Along with the overall goals of the team, individual team members such as Senior captain and wing Ally Modrak have set personal goals. She said she hopes to improve her statistics and be more dedicated to the sport.
“Since this is my senior year, I want my last year to be the year I am most proud of,” Modrak said. “Being more committed to the sport can change the way I performing in the water and as a teammate.”
Aside from conditioning, Modrak prepares for the season by playing on the swim team at the Bay and playing on a club water polo team during the off season. She said she has grown as a player exponentially by playing the sport and staying in shape.
“Swimming is a huge part of water polo and has benefitted me to become better,” Modrak said. “My club team gives me more game experience off season and has resulted in making new friends at different schools who play.”
Andres Schmit, the new assistant coach, is a Bay graduate and an ex-player of the varsity boys water polo team. Schmitt said being a part of the water polo community has given him many opportunities, including becoming a coach.
“Becoming a coach at the Bay is a time where I can give back and help the team develop and become better,” Schmit said. “The sport has brought many life events that have shaped me into the person I am today.”
Schmit said the best part about coaching is when the players are able to implement the skills they learned in practices into the games.
“For the upcoming season, I plan on using my old work out regimens and plays that the coaching staff and I will try to implement during practices,” Schmit said. “The goal is to see the growth in our team as the season progresses and becomes harder.”
Last season, the Lightning did not hold tryouts for the team; however, this year, tryouts were held on Jan. 21-22 from 7:00-9:00 p.m/ at the YMCA. Thirty two girls registered to tryout, but only 18 players will make the team.
“The team will benefit from tryouts to ensure the season goes smoothly,” Briones said. “Additionally, the team will have more players who are hardworking and dedicated to the sport. Therefore, it will be an improvement from last year.”
Schmitt said the tryouts are a way to assess what players are committed to the team. He said he is looking forward to see what the season has to bring.
“Due to my new position, I have never met any of the athletes before,” Schmitt said. “I am excited to see what kind of talent the players will bring this season.”