Club water polo team looks to get back in the pool

After an attempt to put together a coed water polo team fell through several years ago, juniors Elizabeth Jacobs and Kristina Cornell jumped at the chance to revitalize the effort this semester.

They succeeded in creating the team and now take on the challenge of garnering student interest and marketing the sport. Through word-of-mouth, fliers around campus and an ad on OUTV, the team hopes its message is heard by fellow water polo enthusiasts at Oakland.

“We just started meeting with people, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Cornell, the team’s vice president. “Right now, we have about 50 people on our Facebook group and we’ve had people e-mail us about joining. I would say at least 20 people for sure (are thinking of joining.)”

Funding is another issue for any new club sport, but fortunately the two polo pioneers already have most of their needed equipment.

“Right now, we have minimal funding because we’re new, but next semester, we’ll get some help,” said Jacobs, the team president. “We already have the nets, the balls, the caps, all the equipment, and the pool in the Rec Center.”

With the team still in a building mode, practices are serving as scrimmages and meetings are taking place poolside. A schedule hasn’t been put together yet, but Jacobs has communicated with prospective opponents. The season, once started, would go through the rest of the school year.

“We would play at Oakland and scrimmage against each other. We’ve been talking to Central (Michigan) and Albion, schools that have coed teams,” Jacobs said. “We’d like to eventually set up matches and play in tournaments.”

The first meeting took place Oct. 5, but there will be meetings every Tuesday and Thursday at the Recreation and Athletics Center from 9-10 p.m.

The desire to play water polo started before Jacobs and Cornell were even students at OU.

“I actually started as an eighth grader on a high school swimming team, and it was just very boring swimming back and forth, so I started playing water polo,” Cornell said. “It’s very competitive and takes a lot of strategy.”

Jacobs also preferred the excitement of water polo as opposed to swimming.

“I swam in high school, but I wanted to find something else to do because I didn’t swim all year round,” she said. “It takes a lot of teamwork but you build camaraderie.”

For more information, students can contact Jacobs at [email protected] or join the team’s Facebook group, “OU Water Polo.”

“Anyone who wants to play can join. We’re looking for people who want to come to every practice, people who really love the sport like we do,” Cornell said. “We want to continue it after we’re gone, not just have it die out after this semester.”