by Jesus Hernandez
COVID-19 had a toe on the East Los Angeles College women’s water polo team. It was a hard season for the team. The Huskies finished the season with a 1-17 record.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, practicing in the pool where most of the conditioning and skill is taught was delayed until at least three weeks before their first game. While they were not allowed in the pool the team still did lift training.
Diana Romero, Women’s water polo head coach, was able to teach drills outside the water. Other colleges in different zones were ahead of schedule because they were able to play preseason games and practice in the water. ELAC has an inside pool so the restrictions really hurt them.
The Huskies got their first win of the season on October 29 with a game-winning score of 6-4 against Santa Monica College. Romero said the team faced the same college on October 22 and the Huskies lost in double overtime. The Huskies could win the game if they worked as a team to accomplish that goal. Romero said she stressed how important defense was. The team managed to come together and was able to pull out the victory. After the win, the team was all very excited as they’ve worked hard all semester to get their first win.
Romero has a couple of goals she wants to accomplish with the team for next year. To build the future of the team she said one important aspect is to build from the foundation left by previous athletes. Romero said her first year coaching at the college she started the program with 12-15 athletes and finished the season with nine athletes.
This season, her second year, she recruited 27 athletes, she hopes to do this again. She plans to recruit from neighboring high schools and get more involved with certain events at the stadium pool.
Romero said some events include bringing together different high schools from the neighboring area and having them host their swim meets or water polo tournaments at ELAC.
Romero said she had a great experience when she was a high school athlete and then swam at ELAC. Romero said she wants to bring those memories back so other athletes can experience the same feeling.
“Going forward the team understands what they need to do in order to do better against their conference opponents,” Romero said.
She said it’s a matter of getting it done and being able to execute what the team has trained on. The team hopes that with no COVID-19 restrictions going into next season the team can get back to regular training from day one.
Romero is all about improvement. “We will keep building and improving from this year to the next. I see us building from the foundation our team has established. The only way to go now is up,” Romero said.