McDaniel’s Photography

COMEBACK KID. After spending one year abroad in Belgium, Laura Setser, 12, came back to SHS and rejoined the water polo team. Setser is a fundamental part of the water polo team. While she was in Belgium she played soccer.

Rather than walking out onto a field with the support of hundreds of their fellow classmates cheers behind them, the SHS girls water polo team walks from the outside inside.
They walk into a natatorium where the smell of chlorine, coupled with the sound of splashing water and referees whistles overwhelms the senses.
It is an environment that is so different from that of a football game under the Friday night lights, yet it exhibits the same raw passion that can only come from hours of dedication to the sport, and for the girls water polo team, those hours are logged in a cold pool.
The team has a history of success, with three second place finishes, three All-Americans and numerous All-Ohio players within the past five years. The 2015 season posted a record breaking season with 32 wins and eight losses; to top it off, the team finished second at the state tournament.
“We want to be successful every season. I haven’t felt pressured [by last season’s success] because success is simply the natural product of practicing the right things. Coaches understand that each year, a different match up of girls means a different collective experience and chemistry. I measure our success by the growth our players have, with winning games and being a byproduct of that growth” said Jessen Link, coach.
This season has been nothing short of a success. With a record of 12-13 the team is ranked sixth going into the State tournament and proved themselves by winning their annual home tournament, the David McLennan invitational, for the second year in a row.
“It was a really gratifying experience to not only beat three separate teams, which we hadn’t [yet], but to also win the tournament overall. It was simply a testament to the work ethic of our team and the potential we have,” said Link.
The state tournament is the culmination of the team’s season. It is the final opportunity for teams to demonstrate their ability and fight for the biggest acclaim in Ohio high school water polo: the state championship title.
SHS has not clinched the first place trophy in over 20 years and it has been a goal of the team every year since.
“Success is what drives us forward. The growth of the sport and our players would be significantly lessened if there wasn’t the element of competition. Having a state tournament drives us to be the best we can be, to push ourselves to that next degree of intensity and competition,” said Link.
Posing the biggest threat to their run for glory is the top ranked Upper Arlington high school, followed by second ranked Napoleon high school and third ranked Milford high school.
“We are really starting to inhabit our goals for the season: control the game and see the entire pool. The only thing that could prevent us from advancing is ourselves, and I am incredibly confident in our ability to succeed,” said Link.
For more information on SHS waterpolo, click here.