Water Polo: Women’s and men’s teams ready to start the year

Today, Sept. 5, the men’s and women’s Water Polo squads open their seasons at the Rio Hondo aquatics center.

Jumping into the pool first will be Todd Lim’s women’s team which will be facing off against the visiting El Camino College Warriors at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 30, Lim mentioned that following the end of last season, changes in the squad forced him to go rookie-heavy with his team this season.

“We had a decent group out this summer but a lot of turnover from then until now.” Lim said, “We have a lot of new players, less experienced players but it’s a great support group.”

The new squad build-up has created a learning environment around coach Lim and the Lady Roadrunners. Something the experienced players are glad to take on to help teach the younger group.

Coach Lim mentioned that the first-year players have been nothing but receptive and excited to learn in order to use this season as a foundation for future years. This strategy will induce Lim to look past the team’s record at the end of the year.

“The focus isn’t going to be as much on wins and losses. I think growth individually, collectively is going to be vital to our success. Where we start, to where we finish. Everyone is supportive and helps out in being productive.”

Following the women’s match, Stephen Smith’s men’s team will double-dip for a double-header against the Warriors (4:15 p.m.) as well as NCAA Div. III school the Occidental College Tigers (5:45 p.m.).

After a fourth-place finish in 2016, Smith’s squad went through a dip in form last season. With ineligibility not playing a factor this season and some returning players that skipped out last year featuring this term. Smith feels his team is back.

“We had a pretty good year a couple years ago they had a couple guys ineligible last year so it was a bit frustrating.” Smith said during a preseason practice Tuesday, Aug. 28, “We got two guys back that were ineligible last year. We got a couple kids that didn’t play last year that decided to play this year. The silver lining is we got some guys back so with the depth, we’re definitely further along this season than this time in season’s past.”

With a revamped group, optimism hovers over the Roadrunners camp. Smith believes a third-place finish in conference in possible.

“We’re trying to build a winning program so anything less than fourth place is going to be disappointing. We want to be higher than that. I’ve seen some teams over the summer and I think spots two through six are going to be really tight. One game can make the difference.” Smith said.