Water Polo finishes season third in the North Atlantic divison

Colby’s water polo team is an often-overlooked co-ed club sport where students and professors come together. The team wrapped up a successful season two weekends ago, finishing third in the North Atlantic Division.

Colby Water Polo, or “wapo” as the players affectionately know it, faced familiar rivals such as Bates and Bowdoin throughout the season. They secured a major victory over Bowdoin on October 2, which helped to boost them in the rankings. Colby also beat both the University of Maine and Saint Michael’s College by a wide margin (12-1 and 11-4 respectively). Bates College and Tufts University both proved a greater challenge, handing Colby three of their four losses this season. Tufts went on to win the league, advancing to national competition.

Colby finished the season with a 6-4 record overall and entered the North Atlantic Division championships as fourth seed, behind Tufts, Bates, and the University of Vermont. There, they faced Bowdoin, who they beat handily in a 12-6 victory. Playing against the University of Vermont for third place, Colby knew the importance a win would have on the outcome of their season. In a hard fought game, with aggression and many goals from both sides, Colby emerged victorious, winning 9-7. According to Eric Walton ’17, this marked the best season Colby Water Polo has seen in the last ten years.

Colby Water Polo draws from a very diverse pool of players. The majority are swimmers for Colby’s varsity team, but certainly not everyone competes in both sports. Classics Professor Kerill O’Neill is also a member of the team, and brings the kind of senior leadership that traditionally comes from a captain. This helps to create a team dynamic that is fundamentally different from any other sport on campus.

Walton went on to say, “though we have always been pretty strong at swimming and shooting, the technical aspects of water polo have been something we have always strived to improve.” First-years make up an important part of the team, and the upperclassmen strive to integrate them into competitive play. Fighting for a starting position as a first year can be difficult, especially given the lack of experience of most new players. In fact, few players arrive at Colby having played before. As a result, a whole new skill set is required, something that takes a good amount of practice for even the strongest swimmers. This is remedied through scrimmages, actual playing time, and advice from experienced players. Captain Tyler Lewtan ’17 noted that, “what made [him] most happy as captain was seeing the team come together as one. Seniors respect first years just as much as they respect us [upperclassmen]”.

The Mules will look to carry the momentum of this season into the spring, when water polo starts up again. The most important thing will be staying fit and ensuring that they stay connected as a team despite the lack of practices during the winter. They will host a tournament with other schools from the league sometime in early spring.

Leave a Reply