WebXtra: Nacogdoches High School water polo ready to make a splash

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:49 AM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Texas UIL has now added water polo to its list of competitive sports.

Nacogdoches High School has since created teams for this first season, so the Nacogdoches dragons now have both a girls and boys team for water polo.

Head coach Derek Theiss says practice only began on August 1.

“We’ve only got 17 days of practice under our belt, and already we’ve seen exponential growth, and these kids banding together and really trying to make something of water polo for the very first year,” Theiss said.

Theiss says that each team has 17 members on it.

“We can only have seven in the water at a time, but it benefits us that we have a bench,” Theiss said.

The school will compete with five other water polo teams in their district.

The schools are Rockwall, Rockwall Heath Forney, North Forney and Texas High.

Senior Captains Garret Schmid and Viviyan Nieberding were originally part of Nacogdoches’ swim team, and they played water polo for fun on Fridays.

“But now that we get to take it to a point of seriousness, and we’re like into this and it’s competition, we’ve got stuff on the line when we go out and play. It’s a lot of fun and it’s pretty awesome to be part of the inaugural team and kind of light the torch and be able to pass it along to the young kids,” Schmid said.

Nieberding says they are still learning all the rules since they were playing for fun in the past.

“It’s really different for us to actually play by the real rules, I think, and that’s what is one of the things that we’re trying to work through, learning all the actual rules and strategies now,” Nieberding said.

Schmid says he’s excited to see how far the team goes this year.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team. We’ve got strong players, and the thing about Nac high, especially the swim team and the aquatics team overall, is we have some of the strongest chemistry that I’ve ever seen with a team. We’re more like family then a team, and so I think that’s going to take us far, and I just want to see how far we can get. I’d love to reach state, but we’ll see what happens,” Schmid said.

The team competes again next Saturday.

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