Water polo: Jump in for fitness and fun
Special to The Aspen Times
Do you like to swim?
Do you like to have fun?
Do you need to break out of your normal routine?
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., people of all ages and skill levels have been throwing on their swimsuits to come play water polo at the Aspen Recreation Center pool.
The group has been meeting to play for six years, veteran player Archie Maclean said.
“It’s low key,” Devi Glick said. “You can play as much or as little as you want with this group.”
Glick, 28, has been a regular face at the weekly water polo matches, and she also swims with the masters program at the ARC.
After swimming competitively in high school in New York (freestyle and backstroke), Glick attended Middlebury College in Vermont.
She said she had no interest in swimming at the NCAA Division II level but still wanted to have fun, get a workout and compete in the water.
As a club sport, water polo was available at Middlebury, so Glick joined the team.
When she moved to Aspen, Glick jumped back in the pool and joined the Aspen water polo crew.
“In the winter, it’s a good thing to do when there’s nothing going on, and it’s dark out,” said water polo enthusiast Phillip Jeffreys. “It’s something different.”
Jeffreys has no competitive swimming in his background.
But he said he started playing water polo last year when he heard about the Wednesday night matches at the ARC.
While he might not have the experience of some of his teammates, Jeffreys said he keeps playing and learning and enjoying the workout camaraderie.
The informal water polo group starts to gather the first week of October. They will play through April.
Anyone and everyone are invited; no experience is required.
The first two months of the season, instructor Lizzy Grater focuses on water polo drills, skills and teaching the rules of the game.
“(Right now), we’re getting in shape, so when it really starts to happen we’re ready,” said Maclean, himself a former competitive swimmer.
He said that everyone comes ready to scrimmage and compete after Thanksgiving, when the season picks up intensity.
The score, however, is rarely recorded in the Aspen water polo matches at the ARC.
“I like playing games and marking up with people who are better than me,” Grater said. “There’s not much that compares to (that). It’s also really fun to come out each week and just play.”
She said more and more players come out once the season gets rolling.
In the past, she said, there were former college water polo players and foreign players who showed up for the Wednesday night splash.
A couple of years ago, players from the South African national water polo team even stopped by to play with the Aspen group, Grater said.
The sport also carries a legendary reputation as a great workout.
“It’s like a swim meet, wrestling match and handball all in one game,” Grater said.
Abby Margulis is an editorial intern working at The Aspen Times. She is a junior at DePauw University in Indiana.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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