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Bainbridge pair to compete in national Water Polo tournament
This summer, a lot of islanders will head to the pool to relax and cool off, the kids to enjoy their school-free days.
Bainbridge High School water polo team members Amanda Sellman, 18, and Josie Davis, 14, however, will be hitting the pool to warm up and train for the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics.
There are no days off when you want to be the best, Davis said.
“I have to do a ton of training to prepare for the Junior Olympics,” she explained. “I have to swim a few times a week and lift weights, along with water polo practice. The coach I have right now expects a lot from us, but it really pays off.”
The USA Water Polo Junior Olympics is the largest age-based water polo competition in the country and is set to take place in San Jose, California from Thursday, July 31 through Sunday, Aug. 3.
Sellman, a BHS graduate this year, will compete on the U18 Puget Sound Water Polo Junior Olympics team and Davis, who will be a sophomore this coming school year, will be a part of the U16 team.
Both teams qualified at the Pacific Northwest Qualifier in Puyallup in May.
“It feels awesome, it’s really exciting,” Sellman said. “When I first started [playing], I didn’t really know about [the Junior Olympics].”
Sellman, who began playing water polo as a Spartan freshman, said her original athletic concentration had actually been swimming.
“At first everyone told me not to [play water polo] because I was a swimmer and it would mess up my stroke,” she remembered. “One of my friends wanted me to try it and I really, really liked it.”
Proving the sometimes positive effects of peer pressure, Sellman went on to be a great asset to the BHS team and never looked back.
“I was really good at swimming, but there was no point,” she said. “You swim down and back in the pool, and it’s not fun. Now, I can take that skill that I was really good at and apply it to this sport.”
Davis agrees, saying that a strong swimming background is essential for a quality water polo player.
“In order to be good at water polo, you really have to be comfortable in the water, which is no problem for me,” Davis said. “Size and fitness are also very important to do well, I am 5-8. To play the sport, you really need to eat right. What you put in, is what you get out. When playing, you really need to give it your all.”
After having only played for a year and a half, Davis has quickly established herself as a staple of the team.
“I played for the high school JV [team] as an eighth-grader,” she said. “I usually play a position called wholeset or center. It is the most important offense position.”
Both athletes agree that the chance to represent their state and hometown is the best part of competing in the national contest.
“I feel really amazing to play in the Junior Olympics,” Davis said. “I’m so excited that I get to represent Washington. I hope that I will get to do this for the rest of high school.”
Sellman said that the practice schedule has been intense, but believes that it will be worth the work to be as prepared as possible next month.
“We practice four days a week in the afternoon,” she said of the Puget Sound Water Polo schedule.