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Mar Vista Boys Water Polo Team Preps For Challenging Season

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Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 5:17 pm

The Mar Vista High School boys water polo team has maintained a very good record for several years, even making it to CIF finals this last season. After coming in at second place for finals, they were put in Division I this year, with a group of more skillful players than Division II. However, over half of last year’s varsity team graduated in the spring, leaving a team consisting mostly of sophomores, with only a few juniors and seniors. Head Coach Chad Kavanagh, who has been coaching for over a decade, has analyzed the team, and knows what the hurdles will be.

According to Kavanagh, the biggest challenge to the team is age. Ironically, what will help the team is the vast experience of its players. “Challenges include age. We’re very young. We have experience, though.”

Most of the team has been playing water polo for over two years, some even longer than that. Many played together the season before and are close.

The physical size of the team is also a big challenge for them, as many of the starters are sophomores. Many other teams have larger players, especially in division one, and most of the varsity players this year are underclassmen. Kavanagh believes that technique will make up for the teams’ shortcomings.

In order to be prepared for the season, the first two weeks of practice consist of intensive workouts in which large swim sets are completed. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the team wakes up at 5 a.m. to swim. Morning practice is essentially over an hour of swimming. “We’re in Division I now, so we do two hours in the morning, so we can play more polo in the afternoon. We also do around 4500 to 5000 yards a day,” said Kavanagh.

When asked about star players, Kavanagh said, “I’m excited for Speer, and my goalie, Lord.”

David Speer and Levi Lord, both seniors, are the team captains. The other captains include Fletcher Field and Ethan Hastings, who are sophomores. When asked on why they were chosen, Kavanagh said, “They were able to step up.”

Kavanagh continued, “Most of our starter players are sophomores.” Starters this year include Field, Lord, Hastings, Speer, Luke Wilson, TC Spaulding, and Carlos Ibarra.

When asked what he does as a captain, Lord responded, “As a captain I always strive to make myself and my team better, as people and players. If I see someone not giving it 100 percent in practice or games I encourage them to work harder and motivate them, and although I’m the goalie, if someone’s having trouble understanding a play or how to improve their form I give insight from four years of seeing different shots and plays in front of me.”

Field added, “I work hard, listen to [my] coach, build off of others, and I be a leader.”

For reference, water polo is a sport in which two teams consisting of five players each on the field, or pool as this is the case, with one goalie for each team. The goal is to pass the water polo ball down the pool, into the goal. The ball cannot be touched with more than one hand, and one player cannot drown another. The game lasts for four quarters that are each eight minutes, and requires each player to be an extremely competent swimmer, as well as to have some physical strength, to break away from other players who are holding on to them.

The season has just started, and although there will be hardships along the way, the team has started out strong.

“We recently just beat Rancho Bernardo, so that was exciting,” says Kavanagh. “Eastlake is going to once again be a big challenge.”

Last season, Eastlake and Mar Vista High School had two very competitive games.

Kavanagh ended the interview by saying, “We’ll see if experience and smaller bodies work out in Division I.”

The team’s next home game is on Monday, Aug. 26, against Clairemont High School. Come watch and cheer them on!

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