A full circle journey

Water polo captain discusses growth with the team

By Karuna Chandran

Sports are an integral part of many high schooler’s lives, with every season marking a new beginning. Senior, water polo captain Lucas Pickles has been a part of the team since his freshman year when his friend, the senior captain at the time, got him interested in the sport.

“Everyone always thinks it’s the easiest sport,” Pickles said. “‘Oh, you play water polo. It’s easy, you just swim around,’ and that’s what I thought too. But you have to be able to hold people, swim away from them, and grab the ball [all during the game].”

Pickles said he joined the varsity team freshman year, but still had a lot of improvements to make to his game and had to hold his own against players who were much older and experienced compared to him.

CHANGING OF SEASONS: From freshman to senior year, Lucas Pickles said he has improved tremendously, developing strong relationships with his team and coach. (Photo by Rajiv Venkatesh)

As a team, Pickles said they have become a tight knit friend group from participating in bonding activities such as “Flop Friday” where they all flop into the pool. The athlete said the strong community made it easier for him to carry out his captain duties.

“I’ve built trust with my coach.” Pickles said. “Last year being one of the top scorers made it kind of a no-brainer to put me as one of the captains, especially since I feel like I get along with everyone on the team.”

Managing the commitments of a sport on top of school is definitely a balancing act, Pickles said, especially when doing school work once the two to three hour practices finish every day.

“[I didn’t realize] how serious it would be conditioning wise,” Pickles said. “Our coach makes us warm up with a mile run and then do three rounds of core exercises. We also have this set where it’s just 45 minutes of swimming and getting out of the water. Every night you’re just going home and icing your shoulder.”

As a player, Pickles said he learned the importance of pushing himself and not taking shortcuts, even when it may seem like the easiest option, because it will reflect in his performance during games.

“The mindset I have with water polo is that you have to work hard to achieve greatness, [which also] applies to my academics,” he said. “You just have to be able to use your time wisely.”

Pickle’s journey is coming full circle as a senior and captain, as he now hopes to pass on the water polo torch to new members.

“Definitely as a freshman, I didn’t know much about the game, so I want to be able to do what the seniors did to me and leave behind my knowledge to them,” Pickles said. “And I don’t know, I just want to win some games.”