Training like the best 3 water polo athletes
Being a water polo athlete is not easy considering the amount of pressure and physical effort you have to go through daily. Because nobody is born with all the necessary abilities, it’s vital that a water polo player works hard every day and commit themselves to becoming better with each practice.
Even though we see them prepared to face any challenge during a game, in reality, water polo competitor need to train every day if they want to keep themselves afloat and ready to hit the target.
This game requires tons of agility and resistance to strenuous effort. Aside from the fact that players never get a second to rest while they’re playing the game, other crucial aspects make this sport so challenging.
You must always have at least one arm above the water surface, and you need to able to maintain like this as much as possible if you want to play offense and defense. Also, the majority of water polo players need to be able to push themselves out of the water without a single toe touching the ground. Under no circumstance, reaching the bottom with your feet is allowed.
Besides staying on top of the water, water polo is an extremely physical game that can last up to four eight-minute quarters while playing at the Olympics.
In case you didn’t know much about the history of water polo, here is your opportunity to learn a few basic facts. This sport is one of the oldest types of competition in the modern Olympics and dates back all the way to 1900. Even though in the U.S. water polo is a bit overlooked, it is popular in many European countries such as Italy, Greece, Romania or Hungary. In these places is where you’ll find most professional league players. Especially in Hungary, which is known to be the most significant world power in water polo, has collected lots of gold medals over the past Summer Olympics.
But what we see during a sports match is the result of a lifestyle different from what we could imagine. These athletes sleep, breathe, eat, train, and repeat water polo all day long. The fitness regimen required to be capable of taking part in a water polo game at the Olympics is unbelievably hard or even grueling as others might characterize it.
A typical day of training for a water polo athlete consists of getting up at 7 am in the morning and starting lifting weights for a couple of hours, until 10 am. Then, it goes on with a swimming session of about 4.5 miles. When the afternoon comes, a player must swim another 2 or 3 miles just to stay in shape. In between, it’s mandatory to study things about game tactics, keeping the stamina during the game, and leg conditioning.
It all comes down to almost 7 hours of training per day which is clearly an Olympian effort. to elevate themselves out of the water, water polo players use a particular technique called ‘egg-beater.’ They continuously churn their legs without touching one another in a circular motion that allows them to stay above the water.
It’s not easy to develop this skill and to be able to have your arms free and keep your eyes on the ball. It’s understandable that these athletes need to increase their leg strength if they want to sustain this motion for an extended period. Nevertheless, players can substitute every two minutes if they need a break to stay fresh.
If you need something to boost up your workouts and you’re feeling inspired by the best water polo athletes in the world, you would start by working on power cleans if you want to develop your overall strength. While you’re in the pool, try to master the ‘egg-beater’ technique by gradually holding your hands and ultimately your elbows above the water. If you can do it for 30 minutes at once, you could consider a career as a water polo player, such as these top 3 players showcased below.
Nicknamed ‘The Savior, Tony Azevedo is considered to be one of the best water polo players in the history of the U.S.A. He graduated from Stanford University, and he is the captain of the US National Men’s Water Polo Team.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, he moved to California when he was just one year old. Plus, his father was also an Olympic water polo athlete. At the age of four, Tony suffered a fall that caused him problems with his trachea and esophagus. Even though his heart stopped in the middle of the surgery for four minutes, he recovered and managed to go further and achieve wonderful results in this sport.
In 2007 he joined the US national team, and in 2012 he became the captain.
Another top-ranked water polo player is Kami Craig. She won many competitions and managed to win the Peter J. Cutino Award twice, in 2009 and 2010, becoming the only female water polo player that owns two trophies of this kind.
Kami was a member of the US water polo team and won a silver medal in 2008, at the Beijing Olympics. Also, in 2016, she got a gold medal with her team in Rio.
In June 2009, she received the title for the USA water polo women’s senior national team during the 2009 FINA World Championships.
This accomplished water polo athlete is one of the most decorated players in the world. Between 2000 and 2009, Brenda Villa was named the Female Water Polo Player of the Decade. She received this title from the FINA Aquatics World Magazine.
She started swimming at the age of six and followed the path to water polo because of her brother. From there on, she gradually built her way up and got to train for the Olympics in 2000. During three seasons she played for Stanford University, Brenda scored only high scores and led her team to win the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship.