Water polo keeps afloat after rough fall

By Aaron Graff

Unlike several club sports, SIU Water Polo competes at a conference level, and this year the Salukis are the only team representing the Missouri Valley Conference.

Water polo is a sport that combines handball and swimming, which forces athletes to tread water the whole time they are playing.

Each game is four quarters that last seven minutes each. The pool is at least 12 feet deep, so every swimmer has to tread water the whole time they are playing. Each team has six members and a goalie at all times.


Club President, Eric Engleson, a senior from Arlington Heights studying therapeutic recreation, said SIU’s club has not traditionally held a winning record. This season the team has only won one game, which was because of a forfeit.

However, he said the team has not always had all members at the meets thus far and it traditionally does better during the spring semester than the fall.

“I felt like we did pretty good there,” Engleson said. “But we were against the best teams in our conference so we did not really have a chance to get any wins under our belt.”

According to the Collegiate Water Polo Association, SIU elected not to compete at the division championship so it did not earn a final place in the division standings.

Club Vice President and captain, Justin Jacobson, a junior from St. Charles studying advertising, said some members get frustrated with the losing record.

“They come from a school where they never had a losing record,” Jacobson said. “They get frustrated with the team because they do not like losing.”

Jacobson admitted he had some of those frustrations his freshman year, but realized the game is something he does for fun, and he has gotten better. Jacobson played in high school and was the first person from his high school to be selected for All-Sectionals. He said he has been passionate about water polo from the beginning.


“It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve learned to do,” Jacobson said. “Some people say baseball is the love of their life, and once I got good at it, it has become the love of my life.”

Treasurer, Peter Schorsch, a sophomore from Elk Grove studying information systems technology said he played in high school as well and the club meant he could continue his career. He also said water polo is a unique sport.

“It’s definitely a lot different than other sports,” Schorsch said. “The games are usually pretty close, and can be exciting by the end.”

Engleson said members pay a $50 fee per semester that covers both travel costs and some equipment costs.

Currently, the team does not have caps; which are a waterproof material that protect the player’s head and also show what team they are on along with their number. The caps prevent players from getting hit in the ear, which can cause a player to go deaf.

Engleson said the team is trying hard to make sure it can have caps for the spring semester.

The team practices every Monday thru Wednesday 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the Edward J Shea Natatorium.