CCA Previews ’22: Water Polo

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By Emma Tang (22S06H), Girls’ Captain, Grace Toh (22S06B), Girls’ Vice-Captain, Su Huaiyu (22S06C) and Kwan Kaiee (22A01B)

Think about being able to jump into a refreshing pool of water after a long, tiring day of school. Think about having a lot of laughs as you throw a ball around in the pool with your friends who you’ll soon call family. Think about having an unforgettable CCA experience in JC. If any of that sounds appealing to you, we’re sure you’ll enjoy being a part of the Raffles Water Polo family!

Water Polo gives you the opportunity to do a rigorous sport without having to deal with being sweaty and smelly afterwards. Over at the Year 1 to 4 pool, we have the privilege of showering right after leaving the pool, and thus we leave the pool together as a batch. Not only this, we would also head over to Chill to get some freshly-made waffles after CCA. 

However, in view of the current COVID-19 situation, we mostly train with one another online over Microsoft Teams. In spite of that, in the short few weeks of being able to train at the pool with one another, we have managed to build a family that surpasses awkward waves in the corridor. Instead, we share hugs and exchange ‘how are you’s when we catch one another in school!

The girls’ team, despite being categorised as a “developmental sport” in RI, trains just like any other competitive team sport, and sets its goals just as high. As Water Polo is a relatively new sport for girls, none of us have any prior experience playing this sport. As such, the learning curve is definitely steep. 

You may be concerned about having little to no experience in Water Polo or swimming, or perhaps you were not even from a sports CCA previously. Well, fret not, the learning is what makes this new CCA fun and you will definitely have loving seniors, batchies and a coach guiding you along the way. 

After online CCA.

Lunch together before Wednesday CCA

After training group picture. *Pictures taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.

We have also managed to retain our A Division National School Games Championship title for over ten consecutive years! We know that sounds daunting, but fear not, our training sessions are fun and always filled with laughter. So join us to be part of this journey, and we look forward to seeing you be part of our team!

For the boys team, we are truly blessed to have the ex-national water polo coach, Coach Yu Lei, coach us. Fun fact, he also led the Chinese Men’s water polo team in the 1996 Olympics as their captain! So, quite apparently, we have a really experienced coach leading our team and it is really inspiring to have someone who is so dedicated to this sport to be guiding us. 

To be very honest, training is tough and, occasionally, even induces tears—a result of the many swim sets and intense workouts our coach gives us mercilessly… But, as the saying goes, “no pain no gain”. Through the blood, sweat and tears, RI Water Polo has been regularly proceeding into finals and even claiming the championship title in the National School Games. 

In spite of that, training is still often fun; everyone plays around but also treats training very seriously. Probably explains the toned and shredded bodies many of our members have achieved (so if you want a nice body, do join us!)

Moreover, our coach might be very strict most of the time, but he can be really funny, approachable and entertaining too. In fact, he often jokes with us and sometimes, out of his incredible generosity, gives us free FREEZED hundred-pluses after a tiring training.

Also, A Division boys are allowed to play music during training (no need for music filtering!)  Every now and then, we have relay competitions, among other water-related games like water rugby and flippa ball, during training times to spice things up a little. 

Last but not least, the team is really bonded, not just among the team members but also with our teachers-in-charge and coaches. We often joke around and even throw each other (YES, including the teachers!) into the swimming pool on our birthdays. 

Y5 Raffles Water Polo Boys’ Team. *Picture taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.

For the boys team, we train in the RI pool thrice a week during competition season 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 Coach Yu Lei and the girls’ team is coached by Mr Lim, 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-in-charge (Mr Chan, Ms Wang, Mr Ortega) who always keep an eye out for us throughout the school year.

All in all, Raffles Water Polo is a place where you can grow not just as a player but as a person. Training can get very tiring but no matter how exhausted 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. If you want to challenge yourself and make some of your fondest memories in JC, then join the Water Polo family—you won’t regret it.

*Cover image taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.

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