Group huddles. Synchronized chants. Pump up music. Whirlpools.
The men’s water polo team calls their pre-game ritual “PGWs”, or pre-game whirlpools, said men’s water polo coach John Savage.
“If the pool is shallow enough for them to stand in, the team will run in a circle and the pool will get a whirlpool going, and then they just float afterwards,” Savage said.
Last year, for the first time in school history, the men’s water polo team won a game at NCS. This year, they are gearing up to do the same, with the goal of reaching the finals, said Junior and varsity team captain Kieran Linnane.
“We started off one and three, but since then we’ve won nine weeks in a row, which is pretty awesome,” Linnane said. “We’re looking for a high seat in NCS.”
With their win against Berkeley in Los Gatos, the team launched a nine-game winning streak, creating the tone for the rest of the season, said sophomore and varsity player Cutter Mitchell.
“To prepare for NCS [the team is] getting in as many scrimmages and practices as we can with our allotted pool time, and NCS is looking pretty good,” said junior and varsity team captain Henry Saunders.
The scrimmages and practices have helped out the team a lot, said junior and varsity team captain Patrick Conn.
“[The tournaments] introduce our team to a lot of dynamics and offenses that could show up in NCS,” Conn said.
With over 40 boys on JV and varsity combined, who are mostly first and second year players, Savage said he looks to the three team captains to help him guide new players and lead drills.
Team captains Saunders, Linnane, and Conn each add a different leadership dynamic to the team, Savage said.
“Henry is a very hard worker and vocal, Patrick has the skillset and the ability to show what’s going on, and Kieran kind of sets the tone for attitude and effort,” Savage said. “I’m not saying that the characteristics of one are lacking in the other, but all three together make a very effective leadership group on the team.”
Linnane said that he enjoys being the role model for the younger players on the team. Freshman Harrison Miller, a first year player on JV, said the captains have a really positive effect on the team.
“They are all really talented players, so it is really interesting to see them play,” Miller said.
As NCS approaches, Conn, Saunders, and Linnane stress the importance of teamwork, attributing part of their team’s success to the strong relationships they have formed with their teammates, Linnane said.
“I think we have to work as a team in a way and discuss how we think everything is going, how the team chemistry is being built and making sure everything’s running smoothly without any bumps.” Linnane said.