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By Amalia Justiniano   Instant athlete: just add water. The Western women’s water polo team shows pride for this unique sport through their teamwork and passion for the game. From beginners to teammates who have been playing a majority of their life, this team has been about supporting each other. “We’re like a big family,” freshman marine biology major Karrin Letcher said. “This sport isn’t like any other.” The team bonds in and out of the pool, helping make the chemistry between teammates stronger. As a sport that is both physically and mentally demanding, good relationship between teammates is a must, Letcher said. “It’s more about getting to know people,” Letcher said. “We get along well and sometimes just hang out and get ice cream after practice, just because.”

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Western women's water polo team practicing on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the rec center pool. // Photo by Amalia Justiniano
The team is a student-run club sport, which helps form the bonding between teammates, sophomore business major Kirsten Dodge said. “We really can work with each other and bounce things off each other,” Dodge said. “It has much more of a community feel.” Every year the team has new members join and old members return to welcome in those who are new. “The returners come in already being friends,” team captain and senior environmental science major Chanel Long said. “When we get new people the next year, we try to include them as much as possible. We want everyone to have fun and get along.” A priority for this team is to push a students-first mentality. Dodge and Long said there is an understanding of putting academics first before getting in the pool. “It forces me to organize my time,” Letcher said. “I plan things around practice like homework.” The team consists of 12 members and welcome anyone who is interested in trying the sport. “For a lot of people, it’s their first time playing,” Dodge said. “When I first started I didn’t really know how to swim. So you don’t need to have that background, just come out here and try it because we’re here to support you.” The team meets on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Wade King Student Recreation Center pool from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for open practices. They encourage people to show up. “It’s a really unique sport,” Long said. “It’s worth a try. It’s something new and you should always try new things.”


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