Girls water polo holds summer practices in Hawaii

Girls water polo holds summer practices in Hawaii

Emily Vu

The girls water polo team traveled to Hawaii during the summer to train and bond

Hawaii can be a beautiful place to visit over the summer. The weather is hot and humid with ocean breezes and occasional rain. The crisp blue shores are lined with scenic beaches. And the environment is a welcome change from the typical suburban lifestyle of Cupertino, even if Hawaii is no longer a vacation spot, but instead, a site for water polo practice.

During the summer, the girls water polo team strayed from a long-time tradition of holding "Hell Week", a week of summer physical training, on campus by holding it at Oahu, Hawaii, instead.From Aug. 15 to Aug. 20, the girls water polo team stayed in Oahu, Hawaii, for its annual week of summer training called “Hell Week”.  On Aug. 18, the team gathered at the Luau in Hawaii for a team picture. Photo courtesy of Nikki Danese.

Arriving on Aug. 15 and departing on Aug. 20, the team was able to train and condition in ways that were not possible in a pool, or in Cupertino for that matter, since the island boasted unique sites and facilities.

“Diamond Head was this place where you climb up this hill,” said senior Natalie Yates. “You go up probably more than 90 stairs, and you go up to this lookout point where you can see pretty much most of the island.”

Besides endless flights of stairs, the island also provided plenty of opportunities for swimming in ocean waters.  Exercises included swimming back and forth along a line of buoys that spanned between the two shores of Ala Moana Beach Park.  During the week, this particular exercise was done twice, amounting to almost two miles of swimming in the ocean.

But the girls travelled to Hawaii not only to train, but also to bond and unite.  In fact, an entire agenda, consisting of team dinners and surfing lessons, was specifically tailored for team building because of its importance in the sport.

“Water polo is the oldest team sport in the Olympics,” said coach Don Vierra. “It requires a lot of communication.  It requires trust.  It requires the ability to depend on each other.  You’re only as strong as your weakest link.”

Thanks to Hawaii, the water polo team refreshed its physical and mental strength and now looks forward to the upcoming season after having a perfect record of 14 wins and zero losses last year in the league season.

“I’ve already seen the benefits of us having gone as a team just in the attitude of the girls during practice now,” said Vierra.  “I’m convinced that I should do it every year.”