A quaranteam: CMS men’s water polo keeps team spirit alive from Claremont to Wyoming

Five male college students pose for a photo while riding horses through a field. In the background there is a mountain range.
William Clark CM ’22 (second from the left) and four other juniors on the CMS men’s water polo team spent time in Wyoming this summer, riding horses toogether and practising jiu-jitsu. (Courtesy: William Clark)

From practicing martial arts to channeling their inner cowboys, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s water polo team has tried everything they can to stay in shape and spend time together this semester. 

William Clark CM ’22 is one of five juniors on the team who drove to a teammate’s Wyoming ranch near the Grand Tetons this summer in the spirit of team-building. While there, the boys enjoyed each other’s company  — and the company of some horses — but kept it casual when it came to training. 

The team, largely hailing from California with a few teammates from Hawaii, is accustomed to training in the summer sun and relatively warm fall. Water polo in rural Wyoming, however, dunked the Stags into 45-degree water.

“We would ride horses together and go to our teammate’s favorite lake to toss the ball,” Clark said. “Some of the guys brought their surfing wetsuits from Orange County so we wore those, but it was still really cold.” 

Withstanding a near-freezing lake isn’t the only way the team is growing closer. In their time together, Clark and his teammates are going as extreme out of water, fighting hard — literally — to stay in shape and have fun doing it. 

“A couple of guys on the team are doing jiu-jitsu, activating muscles that you didn’t know you had, and I’m looking to join them as well. The team is a really big fan of UFC, so it’s cool to do it in real life.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Stags Water Polo junior class photo… swipe to see some gains in 45°F water 😤

A post shared by CMS Men’s Water Polo (@cmspolo) on

With a canceled fall 2020 season and a 2019 loss in the SCIAC Championship, the team is still gearing up to get back in the pool for competition and, hopefully, its first championship win since 2015

“I know that we will eventually have a season. Every day that you don’t do a workout you know that someone else is, and missing a workout means that someone else is getting better while you are getting worse or staying where you are,” Clark said. “For a team that wants to win a SCIAC Championship and get over that hump, we should all have that in mind.”

While the team works to keep future competition on the brain, their team building needs no work, Clark said. On-campus, the team is “pretty much always together.”

“That is something we are super proud of. Quite a few teams will split into factions, but … that’s what I love about this team: We are all friends and we all love each other.”

Though it’s a challenge for a team so close to be spread out, the love that the team members have for one another and the sport endures. 

“We’re all dying to see each other. The reason we all play this sport is that we love it, but we are so grateful to be on this team because there is no other team like it.”

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