January 21, 2010
The match went to overtime, and then a second extra session. And it was only getting started.
In its first year as a member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), Franklin & Marshall's water polo club was playing the University of Delaware last semester at Villanova University. Outnumbered by nearly 20 players, members of the F&M team were just excited to be part of the action.
But the match remained deadlocked through the third overtime, and the fourth, and the fifth. Finally, after six two-minute extra sessions, Delaware prevailed. It remains one of the most memorable moments for the F&M water polo team, which became an official club for the first time this year.
"The commissioner of the CWPA was there, and said it was the longest game he had ever seen," says Christian Castaneda '10, president of the F&M water polo club.
Water polo, which has been an Olympic event since the 1900 summer games in Paris, is a physically demanding sport, Castaneda says. "It's very much a contact sport. It's like a mixture of soccer, rugby and football in the water, while you're swimming and passing the ball around. People learn ways to pull you down with their legs while their hands are above the water."
Teams play four quarters of seven minutes each, with a halftime break. Players tread water the entire time—there is no standing in water polo.
Last summer, F&M applied for membership in the CWPA, the largest water polo conference in the United States. The club competes in the Mid-Atlantic Division against Carnegie Mellon, Drexel, Millersville, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova, among others. One of just two co-ed teams in the division, F&M takes part in both the fall and spring seasons.
Castaneda says the camaraderie is the best part of the water polo experience.
"Last semester, one of the girls on our team was sent to the ER after a concussion versus Millersville," he says. "Our entire team was in the ER with her. It was right around midterms, but we were there until 2 a.m."
The F&M water polo club opens it second semester next Tuesday, Jan. 26, when it travels to Villanova for a doubleheader beginning at 7:30 p.m. A full schedule is available on the club's Web site.