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The Stally Swimmers Take the Lead

The Stally Swimmers won the fall inner tube water polo championship. Photo by Caroline Siebels-Lindquist: commentary editor.

After their Drake inner tube water polo championship win last semester, the Stally Swimmers will continue to take on opponents and defend their goals and title this spring semester on and around the sea. 

However, their “sea” is actually a pool at the Drake Bell Center, and the water polo is played on inflatable tubes. This team of polo novices may not be drawing crowds like the football team, but their commitment to the sport is just as commendable, as they play against other Drake intramural inner tube water polo teams.  

What might be seen as a simple pastime during days of falling leaves and bitter cold can be quite contentious, with more than one team clamoring for victory.

Sophomore Isabella Ansani has been the captain for the Stally Swimmers for a little over a year now and has noticed that the desire for a win is just the same in amateur inner tube water polo as it is in more professional sporting events.

 “A lot of the teams like to cheat, unfortunately, and like to grab and stuff, so you gotta watch out for that,” Ansani said.  

Just like any university-sanctioned sport, inner tube water polo requires practicing defense and offense. These players are not just swimming aimlessly. They each have a job to do — a role to fulfill on their watery field — and they must stay collected.

“When you’re losing in a game, just staying calm and staying cool and not getting down or frustrated because that will just ultimately hurt [you],” Ansani said. 

Ansani displayed enthusiasm when discussing the specifics of inner tube water polo as the team’s win for the semester slowly settled in. 

  “I would not be able to tread water for that long, so I like inner tube, which makes it a little more exciting,” said Ansani. “[Inner tube water polo] is easier in a way because you’re not like actively swimming the whole time, but it’s like a total arm workout just pushing yourself. And it’s just fun to flip people.”

Sophomore Melanie Kure-O’Reilly was recruited by a friend and joined the team this semester. 

“You think you’re not doing a lot, but then you get in the water and you’re swimming around, you’re all out of breath. I feel like it’s a hard workout. You’re gasping for air,” Kure-O’Reilly said.

Although not originally a self-proclaimed swimmer, Kure-O’Reilly said she was glad she joined intramural water polo.

“I love it so much,” Kure-O’Reilly said. “I’ve never played water polo before and I didn’t know what it was. Then I thought it was just so cool.”

Ansani stipulated that inner tube water polo is an excellent way to get some exercise and also to escape the cold weather.

“I’ve always loved swimming,” Ansani said. “I like that [inner tube water polo] is in the pool and I can still do fun team activities when it’s cold outside.”

These polo players are not playing for the sake of their resumes. They are playing because they want to.  

“[It’s] amazing, and I can’t wait to do it again [next semester],” Kure-O’Reilly said.

This semester, the Stally Swimmers will once again square up against Drake’s other inner tube water polo teams, vying to conquer the sea yet again.

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