Michigan State Women’s Club Water Polo Team Aiming To Repeat As Big Ten Champs
The 38-member team has two goals: do well in class and win in the pool.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State women’s water polo team sees itself as a sisterhood, made up of made up of support and competitiveness. The club, which is one of the best collegiate teams in the country, has 38 members dedicated to playing the challenging sport.
“I joined my freshman year, and now I’m a senior, but I have been playing for eight years,” said team captain Abby Parsons. “I love the sport and my team.”
The water polo players balance a full-time school schedule with 3-hour practices on Monday through Thursday. It can seem like a lot, which makes supporting each other as teammates and students a key for success in and outside the pool.
The team annually has a high GPA, and strong finishes in the pool. In 2019, the MSU team won the Big Ten Division Championship tournament, and was ninth in the national tournament.
Juniors Leslie Schuchardt and Sarah Williams earned women’s club All-Conference first team honors in 2018.
The team’s focus in 2020 remains the same: work hard in school and win in the pool.
“Since we are a club team, we do really stress that school comes first,” said Parsons. “We are students first and athletes second.”
The team is close-knit, sharing their lives at MSU together.
“Our house is all water polo girls, we’re like a big family,” said sophomore Hannah Frazier. “We practice, study, and go out together all the time. I love them, we’re teammates and great friends.”
MSU water polo has brought them roommates and long lasting friendships. It is a bond that creates memories as more than just a team.
“We look out for each other, whether it’s school or helping the new girls understand a drill better,” said captain Sarah William. “We just support each other all around, especially for the younger ones on the team.”
Although winning tournaments and championships are fun, this intensely physical sport serves as a mental escape for some athletes. And also can be empowering.
“As a Pre-Med major, it can be a lot to manage with my schedule but at the same time it serves as an outlet for me,” said Williams. “I love meeting all the new girls that join the team and my longtime teammates, they make it so fun.”
The water polo season started at the end of January, with the Spartan Invitational. The schedule will culminate in the Big Ten championship and hopefully, the national tournament, in the spring.
“Hopefully another first place in the Big Ten Championship tournament this year,” said Frazier. “Whatever the outcome is, I’m excited to play and I know the girls are too.”