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Bradley’s Water Polo Club prepares for another semester on campus

Water Polo Club meets Wednesdays at 9 p.m. at the Markin Center pool. Photo by Nathan Tyler.

Water polo, America’s pastime — wait, no. That’s baseball. Water polo, the sport of kings — hold on, that’s tennis. Water polo probably isn’t the most well-known sport in America, but it has been relatively popular at Bradley in recent years.

Michael Siler, junior mechanical engineering major, is president of Bradley’s Water Polo Club and has been a member of the club since his freshman year.

“I played in high school and I figured I might as well do something to stay active,” Siler said. “There were no swim clubs, so I thought I would join water polo.”

Prior experience is not necessary for someone interested in joining the club. Siler stated that the club has welcomed people in the past who could’ve played the sport at the NCAA DI level, as well as people who had never heard of water polo before.

“When I was a freshman, there was a guy who showed up and we taught him how to swim,” Siler said. “So, you literally don’t even need to know how to swim.”

The club explains the rules of the game to beginners, getting them to a point where they understand the game and can play along with everyone.

In addition to practicing together, Siler said that the Water Polo Club has played against other teams.

“Sometimes teams would come here and we would do fun scrimmages,” Siler said. “Other times, we would do tournaments — sometimes out of town, sometimes out of state — against other clubs. We used to play against a DIII women’s team; that was real fun.”

The pandemic has taken a toll on the club. Before COVID-19 restrictions, Siler said that the club had upwards of 20 members. Now, he said they have five members, although several new people have shown up to their meetings.

Alex Mattingly, a junior computer science major, didn’t have any prior experience with water polo before he joined the club a few weeks ago.

“My brother dragged us in,” Mattingly said. “He was like, ‘We should do this,’ and I was like, ‘Sure, I have nothing better to do.’ It’s been really fun, though, and I’m glad I did it.”

Asher Stein, a sophomore medical laboratory sciences pre-med major, has been a member of the club for two years. However, this is the first time that the club is meeting in person since he joined.

“I swam four years in high school competitively, and I wanted to keep swimming,” Stein said. “Water polo is just a fun way to swim, so I wanted to keep up with that.”

Stein said that his favorite part of the club is having a scheduled time when he hits the water, so he doesn’t have to schedule a time to work out.

Water Polo Club has meetings Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. at the Markin Center pool. Michael Siler can be reached at msiler@mail.bradley.edu.

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