Wolverines swimming for the four-peat

Bellevue boys water polo program off to a sizzling start

Bellevue co-captain Liam Naughton looks for a teammate to pass the ball to during an early season matchup.

Excellence in the pool is an expectation for the Bellevue Wolverines boys water polo squad.

The Wolverines, who have won three consecutive state championships, bolted out of the gates with a 3-0 overall record in early season action. Wolverines head coach Ed Brovick said his team has consistently been state contenders in the South Sound water polo state tournament for the past decade.

“We have won the last three state championships, but before that we’ve always finished in one of the top four spots. The lowest we’ve finished was in fifth place,” Brovick said.

Having that kind of success is a blessing for the program but it also creates a sense of urgency that keeps everyone on their toes. Wolverines’ co-captain/hole defender Liam Naughton knows his team has a giant target on his back.

“Everyone is gunning for us. The pressure is on just as much as it was last year and just as much as it was the year before that,” Naughton said. “We have a really good group of returning guys on this team.”

The Wolverines didn’t rest on their laurels during the off-season. They spent their summer fine tuning their skills in a myriad of ways. They traveled to California where they competed against some of the best teams in the nation. Naughton said his squad ramped up its informal workouts in August in preparation for the first day of practice on Aug. 25.

“About three weeks before the season started we had captains practices, which were run by myself and Marco Stanchi (co-captain). There were no coaches there, it was just us. This is where we got to know each other really well as a team and get in really good shape,” he said.

Brovick said water polo is a niche sport, which requires a multitude of hours of dedication in order to achieve success.

“It’s a high school sport so there is a wide range of athletes, but many of our elite athletes play all year-around. These guys typically work out four or five days a week in the water for at least two hours a day during the season,” the head coach said. “We also lift weights on Wednesdays and Saturdays or do some other kind of gym workout out of the water.”

The Wolverines return four starters consisting of Stanchi, Naughton, Zack Rossman and Cameron Hayes from the 2013 team. Wolverines’ assistant coach Evan Kaseguma said he expects his experienced roster to make another run at a state title.

“Our only goal is to play our best water polo at the end of the season. We think if we do that, then whatever happens will happen,” Kaseguma said. “We will be happy with reaching our maximum potential. That is really our goal and if we can get that fourth (state) title that would be nice.”

Kaseguma, who was instrumental in starting the Wolverines water polo program during his high school days in the late 1990s and early 2000s, said the program has came a long way in the past 16 years. He is a 2001 graduate of Bellevue High School.

“When the team first started in 1998 our only goal was to field a team and have enough guys to play in the game,” he said. “Now we’re going to California as a team twice a year and are playing against some of the best competition in the country. It is very exciting to see that we’re at the point now where we have a lot of athletes who are going on to play college water polo. It is fun to see the program reach that level.”

 


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