Ohio University Water Polo Teams Working Hard Despite Low Numbers

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Erin Seymour at water polo practice

The Ohio University women’s water polo team has been on campus for over two years, but they still are not well-known. There are currently 11 women on the student-run team, 12 including coach Tyler Girard, a junior at Ohio University.

Erin Seymour, a biology major at Ohio University, and the president of the women’s water polo team, said it is sometimes difficult to keep its members motivated.

“Sometimes you have to be kinda mean, just to remind people that if we don’t practice hard we’re not going to do well at the tournaments,” she said. “When we go to a tournament that’s when the motivation really sets in for the younger girls because they realize how tough it actually is, so it’s just you gotta be a leader and lead the team.”

Water polo is regarded as a tough sport. Seymour says she thinks the “toughness” of the sport, and the friendships made, keep the members coming back.

“It’s a really good workout and I think that’s how people keep their interest throughout the year, and then also just the friendships you end up having and traveling to the tournaments really keep people engaged throughout the year,” Seymour said.

Men’s Team Comes Back

Women’s and Men’s Water Polo Teams at Practice

The men’s team was suspended two years ago for hazing, but they are back and actively recruiting players.

“The guys team varies – I don’t think they’ve gone to a tournament yet so nothing’s been official, but they usually have 6 to 14 [players],” Seymour said.

Both teams are actively recruiting so the team can eventually have more subs to get a breather while playing in tournaments.

“We always go to the involvement fair at the beginning of the year, we always have a booth for that to recruit people and then also a lot of us know swimmers from high school coming to campus and we’ll talk to them and see if they want to come to a practice, get interested, or people we meet at the pool we’ll ask them,” Seymour said.

Despite their small numbers, the teams work together to be as competitive as possible.

“We’ve had some really good fundraisers to get more money back into the club, and we’ve just been successful in a lot of our administrative things with club sports and setting things up with the league and stuff like that,” Seymour said. “Since I became president I think there has been more clear communication and planning to the team, more team bonding activities and a better relationship with club sports.”

Tyler Girard, Ohio University women’s water polo coach says the teams are growing – slowly.

“We have learned a lot in the past two years of playing and continue to grow and show improvement,” he said.

Seymour says the sport is different than others because it isn’t hard on your body.


Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Teams at OU’s Aquatic Center

“You use your entire body and then it’s also really low impact; it’s really good for your joints and stuff because you are treading in the water the whole time so you’re not beating your body up,” Seymour said. “It’s really easy on your body, but it’s a really tough workout.”

Girard said long-term, the teams are hoping to be big enough to be competitive with other schools.