By Kervin Tsai (19S06C), Boys’ Captain, Nicole Lim (19A01C), Girls’ Captain, Adriel Lee (19S03M), Boys Vice-Captain and Georgia Lim (19S06F), Girls Vice-Captain
Water polo, like most sports, is adrenaline-inducing, physically demanding and can get quite rough. It’s exciting to watch and exhilarating to play – which is one reason why we love the sport and hope you will too.
The girls team is categorised as a ‘developmental sport’ in RI, but don’t let that mislead you. Like other competitive sports teams, we place great emphasis on teamwork, discipline and hardwork. None of us had prior experience playing the sport, with half the team from non-sports CCAs, but we never excuse our shortcomings with our lack of experience. That being said, we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t from a sports CCA, if you’re not a fast swimmer or if you’re scared of the ball. More than anything, we want people with an open mind, a strong resolve and a desire for excellence.
Most girls are usually hesitant to join because they are worried about not being able to keep up or afraid that the journey might get too trying. If that’s how you feel too, do have a little more faith, in yourself and in us. We’ll admit, the learning curve isn’t the gentlest, and it may seem daunting if you are not comfortable in the water, but we all have to start somewhere, don’t we? Your confidence will grow and training will get more and more manageable as you keep improving and keep getting stronger. As for the team, rest assured that we’ll support you every step of the way. We may be gunning for the gold, but we are a team that leaves no one behind. With that, we hope you will put any doubts about joining us aside.
For the boys’ team, it is just a little different. Given that the team has already had 4-5 years of experience playing the game, it’s undoubtedly at a higher level of play compared to the girls. Likewise, we have our sights on the gold and are aiming for our 3rd consecutive title defence. The journey ahead of us will not be easy, with strong opposition challenging for next season’s championship. Nonetheless, we thrive on adversity and pride ourselves on our teamwork, fortitude and passion; you can be sure that we’ll reach our goals or die trying. The requirements for newcomers are also higher as compared to the girls’; players are generally required to have prior experience in water polo should they wish to join the CCA. Additionally, the boys’ team also has an annual overseas training trip that is a perfect opportunity for the team to bond, as well as to heighten the level of our gameplay in preparation for our season.
We train in the RI pool thrice a week pre-seasons until seasons on Mondays (5.30-8.30pm), Wednesdays (2-5pm) and Thursdays (3-6pm-girls) / Saturday (1.30-4.30pm-boys) and twice when it’s off-season. When the lightning alert comes on, we do strength training or ball handling outside the changing rooms. The boys’ team is coached by 教练 Yu Lei and the girls’ team is coached by Mr Lim, who are both incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable coaches; the progress that both teams have made under them is testament to that. We’re also cared for by a group of very understanding, accommodating teachers (Mr Chan, Mr Swee, Mr Ortega) who always keep an eye out for us throughout the school year.
People have asked whether the boys and girls train together. Well, we share the pool but no, we don’t train together. Despite training and playing as two separate teams, outside of the pool, we do spend time together – in school, gymming, holiday outings, organising TRG, community service and after-training dinners. Through all that, we form friendships that go beyond the intermittent ‘hi’s, and with luck, sometimes even more. When we’re together, we usually talk about frivolous things so from the outside, our conversations may seem pointless. But for a group of people with contrasting personalities, it’s heartening when we set aside our differences to have fun together to escape from the monotony of our daily routines and the stress from our academic pursuits.
All in all, Raffles Water Polo is a place where you can grow not just as a player but as a person. Trainings can get very tiring because we don’t just train our bodies – we train our minds too, but however exhausted you are or defeated you feel, you’ll find comfort in knowing that you belong to a team that will have your back, both in and out of the pool. And though this might not be the smoothest journey, take heart from the fact that it is a very rewarding one.
As you plough through more CCA previews, think about what you want from your CCA. If you’re here to chill, then maybe this isn’t for you because ‘water polo’ and ‘easy’ don’t really go together. But if you want to challenge yourself and make some of the fondest memories of JC, then you’re looking at the right CCA.
Join the Water Polo family, you won’t regret it.