Confusion reigns in the pool as the opposing team thinks they have scored a goal. The players begin swimming back to their set positions, but junior Tommy Ryken, realizing the whistle has not been blown for a goal, takes the initiative and shoots the ball halfway across the pool and into the net.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Ryken started playing water polo in middle school after ten years of competitive swimming. He played club water polo during the summer following eighth grade, and from his freshman year has played varsity water polo at CVHS.
Despite his much longer relationship with swimming, Ryken prefers water polo’s action and team aspects. “I like the team dynamic more than the individual sport,” he said.
He does not mind the intensity and roughness of the sport, however. “It’s a tough sport. It’s a lot of physical contact and it’s not where you can take a break during the play. It’s continuous; you have to be treading water, you have to be swimming to the other side on counters. There’s no stop period unless you call timeout,” he said.
With 55 goals and averaging 2.6 goals per game, Ryken is a team captain of the water polo team alongside senior Andy Jerome. Even as the Trojans went on to a 12-14 record (3-5 league), Ryken was one of the shining stars of the team.
As it is only the third year of the CVHS water polo program, Ryken is optimistic for the future of the team. He will continue playing water polo as far as he knows, and thinks that the sport is at CVHS to stay.