Leon County schools see great turnout for first year of water polo
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- This year, Godby and Leon high schools fielded their first water polo teams in the county’s history.
The vision was three years in the making by Godby Head Coach, Emily Gwin.
"I think it's a fun sport," Gwin said. "I think it's an outlet to do another aquatic sport other than swimming. I really wanted to bring it here."
Gwin, who played club water polo at Florida State, worked for three years to get Leon County Athletic Director Ricky Bell to give her sport a test run.
"I had to make sure we got pool space," Gwin said. "I had to make sure we got other schools involved because we had no one to play."
This season, Leon and Godby competed at the club level. The teams prepped for 13 practices and played their only game on March 12.
"All the schools that participated did an excellent job of retaining that information and having kids come out," Gwin continued. "That's kind of a hard thing to get kids to buy into a sport that is very new."
Leon had 14 players, while Godby had 10.
The Cougars partnered with Rickards High School, who added two players.
All the players challenged themselves to learn a sport foreign to them.
"It was kind of like testing out the waters, literally," junior Yulianna Chavez said. "I guess the hardest part would have been staying off the wall."
The fact that either school competed in water polo surprised their classmates.
"When I told people I was on the water polo team," sophomore Brianna Johnson said, "They were like, 'We had a water polo team?'"
The day after game, which Leon won, 11-8, Leon County closed all schools for two weeks. One day earlier, and all of their hard work would have been wasted.
"Very fortunate to be able to end our season right before that," Gwin said.
Coach Gwin said she hopes next year they can be apart of the FHSAA, but if not, she’s happy to compete again at the club level.