This weekend, the co-ed water polo team hosted the Collegiate Water Polo Association North Atlantic Division “A” Championship. The event spanned two days and hosted five teams from across the East Coast. Bowdoin went 0–3, and the University of Vermont took home the championship. Despite its record, the water polo team enjoyed the tough competition and is looking forward to continuing to grow the sport.
“This was a great weekend.… This tournament was fun. We got crushed in the first two games. The third game we did pretty well against Amherst [College]. It was a close game, and we lost. But we’re [playing against] the best teams in our division. Everybody did a great job,” Spencer Davis ’24 said.
Captain Lorenzo Hess ’23 also emphasized the team’s performance in its match against Amherst College.
“Our third game was our best game. We were passing better, and we had better intuition about how to make plays in the last game. Most of our players are new to water polo and [have only started playing] in the last one, two or three years, so we’ve had to work on building a basic sense of the game,” Hess said.
Water polo was first instituted at Bowdoin in the 1970s as a recreational sport, and the team is now an active member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association. It currently has two seasons: the co-ed season in the fall and the women’s season in the spring. One of the main challenges the team is facing this year is a shortage of players. Davis says that while many of their opponents have around 20 athletes on their team, Bowdoin only has around ten.
Lori Hashasian ’25 says this lack of numbers has made matches considerably more exhausting. A match consists of four seven-minute quarters, and players are required to tread water for a majority of the time. Hashasian believes the team did very well given its circumstances.
“We did a really good job. We had some really spectacular shots from people that have never played in tournaments before this season, which is really awesome. We also had a resilient team spirit,” Hashasian said.
This tournament was the team’s second and last of the fall. The first occurred earlier this month at Colby College. Throughout the season, the team practices three times a week, and will continue to have practices during its off-season this winter. Hashasian noted that practices are a combination of learning and fun. It is a comfort to Hashasian, who swam in high school and joined the water polo team after becoming interested at the club fair last fall.
“My friend and I decided to go to water polo together and try it out. We ended up sticking with it because people were really nice. At first it was really difficult, but it was really cool because we had gone to practice for two weeks, and we were already able to play in the tournament,” Hashasian said.
John Schubert ’26 also joined the team after seeing their table at the club fair and was surprised by how accessible the sport is to new players.
“It’s not as skill reliant or as difficult as you think. Even if you can really only swim, the mechanics will come,” Schubert said.
Davis and his teammates are actively trying to grow the team at Bowdoin. He encourages students to try out the sport and see where their interest lies.
“I’ve seen people literally come to one or two water polo practices and say, ‘I love it,’ and they continue to come. I’ve also seen people come and they hate it and they never come back again. But I’d say give it a try.… It really is a fun sport. It’s a club sport, but we’re trying to put it on the map,” Davis said.