Training exercises like swimming more than three miles a day is routine fare for the Upper Perk High School water polo team as they ready for their season starting at home on Sept. 3.
The Upper Perk high school’s water polo team is training hard for the upcoming season, with preseason practices which began August 12.
A typical practice for the team includes between 3,000 and 5,600 yards of swimming, treading workouts involving weight belts and eight pound bricks, dry land exercises and lifting.
“We have a great starting point from the hard work the students have put forth since last season and in the spring,” Head coach Kyle Kuser said. “Already we have increased the swimming yardage, dry land, and overall intensity of practices.”
Although both the boys' and girls' teams have lost key players this year, they go into the upcoming season in high hopes.
“Both the girls' and guys' team have shown great progress since last year,” said Kuser. “We will continue to progress and be very competitive this season."
“We girls are ready to fight again this year,” said senior player Krysta Rehrig. “We won our division in Beast of the East and plan to either do the same or compete in a better division this year.”
“The boys' team will do really well this year,” added Brandon Umstead. “We got a coach that taught us a ton of new things last year and will keep showing us new things.”
“I think we still have a strong team even though we lost some of our best players and our goalie,” said one of the girls’ team captains Christina Williams. “Micky [Winkler] will be a great addition for goalie this year with her experience in being a soccer goalie.”
“It’s definitely a change from land to water,” said Winkler, the girls' new goalie. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m really excited for the season.”
On Aug. 17, the boys' and girls' team had their first scrimmages at Schlegel Park in Reading. Both teams played three games against Reading, Pottsville, Wilson and Hazleton teams.
This marks the first in the past several years where the water polo team has a coach returning for more than one year. Kuser is beginning his second year as the water polo team's head coach.
“Coach Kyle has gotten us more in shape and helped us understand and know the game better,” said Williams. “Us as a team have a lot of respect for him not only because of his own accomplishments, but also by the accomplishments he has helped us achieve, such as Beast of the East and how much our playing skill has improved.”
“Coach is the best thing that could have ever happened to our team,” said Umstead. “We got a coach that strives to teach us new things. We wouldn’t be near where we are on a skill level if it weren’t for him.”
“We all get along and we all work well together,” said Rehrig. “I believe that we will have another successful season.”