The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s water polo team (3-8, 0-0 SCIAC) has played some tough games this season. Last Saturday, they fell 18-9 to California Baptist University (5-6, 2-0 Conf.) in the first of two matchups this season. Although the Stags kept things close in the first quarter, the Lancers–fresh off of their upset over University of California, Irvine–were able to score thirteen times in a mere sixteen minutes. In preseason play, the Stags have matched up against numerous Division I teams, and though they've gained valuable learning experiences, their record reflects the unfortunate prowess of the teams they’ve faced rather than the team’s true potential. In anticipation of the beginning of conference play, The Student Life sat down with Ethan Lewis CM '20 to discuss his experience as a water polo player as well as his thoughts on the season. Lewis is a center defender from Punahou High School in Honolulu, HI, and has already scored seven goals this season:
TSL: Where are you from and how did you get into playing water polo?
Lewis: I started playing around the sixth grade. The PE coach, who is the high school water polo coach, sort of recruited me. My brother is two years older than me and now is the starting goalie at Stanford, so he had already met him.
TSL: How did you decide to come to CMC?
Lewis: [My teammate] Noah Deer went to the same high school as me and kind of convinced me to come here. I procrastinated badly when applying to schools and eventually talked to Coach Lonzo, who wanted me to go here. It’s obviously a great school, but I basically just listened to Noah; [he] was a big factor.
TSL: What’s your favorite thing about the team here, so far?
Lewis: So far, I think there’s just a good vibe. Everyone here is really friendly, and I feel like I can talk to any of the guys about anything. They like to have fun but they also really dedicate themselves to practice.
TSL: Can you give us a recap of the season so far?
Lewis: I heard that we lost three of our best players from last year this season. We’ve played Cal, Pepperdine, Stanford–all top-10 D1 teams. So far it’s been more of a learning experience for our team. Coach said this is one of the hardest pre-seasons he’s ever put together and the senior players totally agree. The real season doesn’t really start for another month. We’re basically just training until SCIAC games start. Coach doesn’t really care about the score now; it’s all about seeing how we can improve. We’ve played Pepperdine twice and definitely improved the second time, and we’re playing Cal Baptist again this weekend.
TSL: Was there anything in particular you felt like you could have worked on last weekend?
Lewis: Cal Baptist is a team we can beat; they just played well and we didn’t, really. Our coach is looking for mental effort more so than physical effort now, I think. He was happy about some things, but not others. I think we had a little bit of a fatigue problem near the end–a lot of the team is battling sickness right now, which is a bit of an issue. We definitely had some little mental lapses, especially on defense, which obviously gives up goals. I am a second-string defender behind Ellison [Taylor].
TSL: What are you excited for this season?
Lewis: I’m excited for SCIAC to start. We’ve played one SCIAC team so far: Redlands, and we beat them in overtime, which was a big win for us. I’m excited for games to be a little higher stakes. It’s hard to find the motivation when you’re playing teams that are so good and the games don’t count.
TSL: How does college water polo differ from your experience in high school?
Lewis: I think the training is obviously harder here. Our coach really wants us to be in good shape and knows our potential, and pushes us where maybe high school wouldn’t have as much. It’s a big deal to us and a big deal to him.
TSL: Is there one particular game you’re looking forward to?
Lewis: We play Pomona-Pitzer here, which will be a good one. It’ll be fun.