Women’s water polo achieves fifth in the nation early on in the season

Sarah Villani

Although the women’s water polo season has just begun, they have already managed to join the top five in the nation after their tournament at Macalester College. This allowed them to enter the next part of their season with high hopes.

“We’ve been doing really well, with only two losses so far from the California tournament,” Summer Chalmers, a sophomore player, said. 

The team has found that through muscle memory and repetition, they have been able to successfully complete their plays. 

“How coach Pryor sets it up is repetition so it’s ingrained into our movements, so it’s second nature to you,” Chalmers said. 

One vital component that has led to this success is not being too reliant on one person on the team, and instead communicating while using many different people’s strengths. 

“We each have our own individual talents, we don’t have an All-Star player,” Chalmers said. 

This approach has helped them in their success, because if one person is completely blocked, they can instead turn to other players to help get the point. Some other teams they have played against, have had only one reliable person which has been detrimental to them. If that person is blocked then the team won’t have any plays to use.  

The women’s water polo season officially started this spring, and most of their games so far have been away. 

“We’ve been doing really, really well, and have a really good team dynamic this year and really strong team chemistry,” Charlotte Newport, a sophomore and one of the captains on the team, said.

Their first tournament was at Macalester College, leading them to achieve fifth in the nation. Their second tournament was in California with the team winning two of their four games. Although they faced more losses in the second tournament they still felt accomplished with their victories so far in this season. 

“It’s always a good opportunity to play teams that are better than you or just as good as you,” Newport said. 

Since water polo is still relatively new at Augustana College, being able to form a group of people who can rely on each other has been especially important to the captains.

“It’s been really good playing with them, I have to adjust playing with them because I am a new athlete, from the team last year. But we’re getting used to playing with each other and it’s been going really smoothly,” Chalmers said. 

Water polo started two years ago at Augustana College and has taken off since. In the first year, the team focused on building a strong group and recruiting people from the water polo club team to join while participating in some tournaments. 

“I spent the first year recruiting our initial rosters, then we started in 2021 in the fall with the men. We’ve had a lot of early success,” Ryan Pryor, coach of both water polo teams, said. 

Both the men’s and women’s team’s have been doing extremely well early on in the program. This past fall, the men’s team won their conference. 

Having a coach with over ten years of experience has helped push the team to achieve the victories they have, since the coach already knows what works and what doesn’t work. 

 “The Augustana women’s team qualified for nationals as a first year program last year and is off to a good start right now. Both teams have done well academically as well,” Pryor said.

Because the team is new, both captains have focused on creating a welcoming environment for other new members.

 “It’s about leaning on each other… we’ve been working on instilling the culture that we want to create because we did start it from the ground up last year,” Newport said.