Water polo looks to make a splash in next tournament

For those looking to spice up their standard swimming routine, look no further than the WSU water polo club.

Founded three years ago by current club president and goalie Lauren Christianson, the water polo club is currently 7-1 in tournament play with their only loss against club rival Oregon. The club’s next tournament will take place the weekend of April 12 at Oregon State.

Christianson, a native of University Place, began playing water polo in seventh grade.

“I like water polo because it is unique,” Christianson said. “It’s a team sport, it’s physical, it’s mental, and it’s exhausting.”

In water polo, players are only allowed to use one hand to pass the ball across the court while also not touching the bottom of the pool. The goalie is the only player that is allowed to touch the bottom of the pool. The team that scores the most goals with the ball wins the game.

“I’ve been competitive my whole life and playing sports my favorite way of being competitive,” Christianson said. “I just love being part of a team; I think that going to practice every night and getting to see some of my best friends and doing what I love to do motivates me.”

Currently coached by grad student Peter Jacobs, originally from the Bay Area in California, the water polo club is hoping to snag a couple wins in their next tournament.

 “I think, as far as my playing, there’s not much left for me in competitive play,” Jacobs said. “So I think coaching is the next best thing for me and it helps keep my skills in water polo awareness up. I have a lot of fun teaching people to get better and seeing people improve is a lot of fun and watching this team in particular advance in the last eight to 10 weeks is amazing.”

Jacobs said he’s satisfied when he gets a chance to see the club members successfully execute the plays.

Christianson, Jacobs and first semester student Amy Burrola have a combined 26 years of water polo experience.

“I like how physically demanding it (water polo) is,” Burrola said. “It’s cool when people ask about it because not a lot of people know what it is. It’s a cool sport to tell people about.”

Burrola, a transfer student from southern California, currently plays utility and whole set for the WSU squad.

“Coming in this semester, it was nice going somewhere where people accepted you,” Burrola said. “I love everyone on the team.”

With the water polo club seeded second going into the next tournament, Jacobs is hoping for his team to take a victory against the Ducks.

“We have one final championship tournament in two weeks,” Jacobs said. “We tied for first with the University of Oregon because they beat us in the first tournament, so we’re second coming into the tournament. We play Western Washington first, and depending on wins (or) losses, we should essentially be playing Portland State after that. If we win those matches, we’ll play the University of Oregon in the championship.”