By Talia Speaker '18
Helen Thomason joined the CMS Water Polo team this year. The Scripps Voice caught up with her to learn all about her experience with the team and the sport.
How long have you been playing water polo?
I’ve been playing water polo for 5 years now, I started my freshman year of high school but I grew up swimming competitively.
Did you always know you wanted to play in college?
No, I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to play until I got here but a couple of the girls reached out and encouraged me to play and I am so glad I did!
How do you balance water polo with academics?
Being on a team in some ways helps my academics; I stay on top of my schoolwork better because it forces me to manage my time. Most of the other first-years on the team are also science majors and we have classes together so it’s really nice because we can all study together. There is an understanding that school comes first, so a lot of the seniors will help us with homework or help pick classes and navigate things but as long as I stay on top of my homework and don’t procrastinate, I found it easy to balance the two.
What is the team dynamic like out of the water, and how does that affect how you compete together?
Everyone probably says this, but I love my team. Outside of the water we have a lot of fun getting meals and hanging out. So, that makes practices and games more enjoyable. We respect each other as players, so we can learn a lot from each other, which makes it that much more fun when we compete well together.
What is your coach like?
Coach Lonzo is great. In the water he values the integrity of the game and coaches us to have good sportsmanship and win fairly, he does not coach us to play dirty which happens in water polo so often since a lot goes unseen under water. He also really values that we are students first, and then athletes. He cares about us as people and makes an effort to get to know each of us. I think this carries into the pool, we have a respect for him and can reach his expectations for us as players.
Do you have a pre-game routine?
Before every game we always stretch together, do some jumping jacks, and then we all change and huddle in the locker room and do a pre-game talk. Usually we play some good pump up music in the locker room. Sometimes someone will bring a good quote, or one of the captains will say something but we always do a cheer before we go out on deck.
Your team went into the SCIAC tournament this last weekend ranked second in your conference. Can you talk a little bit about how that went, and how you see your team developing in the future?
We played our first game on Friday against Cal Lutheran and that went really well. Saturday and Sunday were a little more disappointing. It was not the way any of us had hoped to end our season, but I think going into next year we will use the tournament as motivation and learn from our mistakes. We are a very young team and so I am excited to see where we can go as a team as we learn to play with each other and become more experienced players.