Making a splash

Texas High Tigersharks discuss their first ever season of water polo

Texas+High+Schools+Max+Likins+passes+the+ball+to+a+teammate+on+Sept.+27%2C+2022%2C+during+the+Tigersharks+match+against+Rockwall.

Photo by Lizzie Debenport

Texas High School’s Max Likins passes the ball to a teammate on Sept. 27, 2022, during the Tigersharks’ match against Rockwall.

Story by Kailyn Williams, Sports Editor

Texas High welcomed a new, intense sport onto campus this school year. Water polo has taken swimming to a new level, and opened the door for many new opportunities and experiences for our Tigersharks. 

The Tigersharks went into this season with the mentality of growing and getting better every practice and every game, however, they did perform exceptionally well throughout the preseason.

“I feel like we’ve improved a lot,” senior water polo player Owen Young said. “We’ve made some changes, everyday we’re in practice getting better and better.”

The shift from just swimming to water polo is a big jump to make, with a lot of different tactics and techniques to learn. The Tigersharks needed to learn the new swim styles soon to be able to participate in their first ever year of the sport.

“We had to learn what’s called an eggbeater kick, it really strengthened our swim,” senior water polo player Kadence Foster said. “Passing and shooting makes swimming tough too, it’s all really hard on our shoulders.”

The Tigershark boys produced a winning record in preseason of 3-2 going into the district tournament. The girls have a record of 2-3 this preseason. 

“Preseason was interesting,” Young said. “We really didn’t know what we were doing or what to expect going into the games, we just wanted to get better.”

In practices, the boys have looked into strengthening their defense, and letting their offense follow behind to support their defensive efforts. 

“We definitely need better defense, we’ve got guys that can shoot the ball pretty well,” Young said. “We just need to make sure everybody knows where they’re supposed to be and how they’re supposed to be defending.”

Adding on the extra sport has proven to be time consuming for the Tigersharks, piling on a little extra work for the athletes.

“It’s just nice to see our team grow, I like water polo more than swim, it’s fun to play a goal oriented game.” ”

— Owen Young

However, the added labor hasn’t taken away from the love of the event.

“We practice double as much now, water polo in the mornings and swimming after school,” Young said. “It’s just a lot and I’m definitely more tired than I used to be, but I think it’s all worth it.”

On the Lady Tigershark’s side of things, the girls have faced some tough competition in preseason. 

“We have been playing teams in preseason that have played club for about three years,” Foster said. “They beat us pretty good, but we’ve learned from those losses and improved.”

The Lady Tigersharks are skeptical going into their district tournament, where they will face experienced water polo teams, some who they’ve faced in preseason already.

“I feel like a couple of these games are gonna be tough,” Foster said. “We are playing Rockwall Heath and Nacogdoches for sure, but we are also playing North Forney and we have high hopes to beat them. We really are just focused on improving, since it is just our first year.”

Through all the tough practices and learning experiences, the new sport has brought them closer as a team, win or lose. 

“It was definitely fun because we did it as a team,” Foster said. “We got to jump in and start from nothing, even with the coaches, so it’s been a great experience and we are all ready for district.”