The cold weather will not stop the determined Tracy High girls water polo players from diligently conditioning for their upcoming 2020-2021 season. Practice does not look the same in comparison to prior years, but the players continue to overcome all the challenges thrown their way.
The girls water polo teams practice every Mon., Wed., and Fri. with all players wearing masks and staying six feet apart before practice begins. In addition, there are daily wellness checks in order to ensure all participants’ safety.
Coach Todd Lieberg is the coach for both the junior varsity and varsity girls water polo teams. This is his fifth year as a part of the coaching staff and he is faced with a year like no other.
“The biggest challenge so far is the limitation we have under the current COVID protocols about “contact” with other players during conditioning. Water polo is a very physical sport… however, recognizing that student safety is the most important thing right now, [these] restrictions seem appropriate,” said Lieberg. His players’ health remains his primary concern during conditioning and is hopeful for a successful season.
Senior varsity player, Madison Kelley, states that right now the players are just doing a lot of swimming which is very tiring.
“The weirdest part [of conditioning] is simply the fact that we are practicing and conditioning for a contact sport but we are not allowed to have any physical contact like we usually would,” said Kelley.
“Water polo is definitely a good outlet to release stress for me because it allows me to focus on what techniques I need to work on,” said junior Makayla Thomas. Thomas also added that distance learning has made her schedule flexible for other activities and allows her to balance homework and family.
Sophomore Cera Burns says water polo practices are an incredible thing to look forward to each week.
“Given the uncertainty of the times it’s really nice to have the stability of knowing you can go to water polo,” Burns said. Burns also added that water polo helps her clear her mind and have a fresh mindset after practice.
Freshman Madison Pribble, who is new to the water polo team and Bulldog family, said ” [I have] made a lot of new friends which takes the stress away of meeting new people in school.”
Everyone is welcome to try-out for the Tracy girls water polo team and no prior experience is required. It is evident that the Tracy High girls water polo teams strive to be a fun and inclusive environment players can prosper in.
Pribble also said ,”The hardest part about water polo is the repetitive laps and having to get back into the swing of doing sports since COVID started.” COVID has made sport conditions difficult, but the water polo players are collectively working hard.
The girls water polo teams continue to practice weekly and look forward to the upcoming 2021 season. The girls are swimming towards success and will certainly make Tracy High proud.
Since this article was written, water polo has been put on hold due to the pandemic, but once it is able to resume everything in this article will still hold true.