The senior leadership is instrumental every year to the team. With captains Crateau and Jim O’Donnell, and fellow seniors Rory Cawley and Justin Farmer leading the way, the older teammates really help the new members learn, adapt and thrive in the team environment.
Last year the Eagles finished at 3-2 and though they dropped their first two matches this season, it’s more about the experience than the win total. The team is made up of mostly swimmers from the winter season and first-timers to the sport.
“I track our progress through learning the game and watching instincts grow over the season,” said head coach Tony Padvaiskas, who has guided the Eagles’ swim team to multiple state championships. “Wins and losses are kept, but I’m usually the first introduction to the sport for many of the boys. So learning the sport is my biggest concern.”
Interest in the program has risen this year after the Summer Olympics aired in August. The number of freshmen trying out for the team has risen from an average of four to 18. For the most part, though, it’s swimmers using the water polo season to get in shape for the winter.
“The camaraderie and toughness of water polo absolutely help the swim and dive program,” Padvaiskas added. “Kids get in great shape before the season and learn a team sport that’s very different and difficult for many swimmers.
“It also helps the boys get into a routine at the beginning of the school year. Waking up at 5 a.m. for 6 a.m. practice while maintaining great grades takes discipline on their part.”
WATER POLO RULES 1. Each team has six field players and a goalie in the pool. 2. Field players can only use one hand to touch the ball; goalies two hands. 3. Games consist of 7-minute quarters. 4. The object of the game is to score by placing the ball completely in the goal. Players may move the ball by swimming or passing. 5. Teams may substitute after a goal is scored, during a timeout, or during the play from the ejection area. 6. Each team receives three timeouts and one 20-second timeout per game. 7. Shots blocked out of bounds by defensive players result in the defensive team receiving possession. If a defender used two hands to block a shot, the offensive team receives a penalty shot.