The team is facing a transition year, not only because of the loss of an incredibly talented class of graduated players, but also due to AP Physics teacher Paul Baudendistel stepping down as head varsity coach and Director of Annual Giving John Penilla rising from his position as head JV coach to fill Baudendistel’s sizable shoes.
Although their first two weeks of practices involved hopping between Chaminade and MICDS for practices due a temporary shutdown at Forest Park Community College, the varsity squad has already demonstrated perseverance through the difficult conditioning period of the season.
“I’ve been impressed with the drive the team has shown during the tough parts of practice,” said senior captain Garrett Baldes. “Their work during the conditioning has been very admirable.”
This hard work will undoubtedly push the team towards its goal to win another state championship, but the team hopes that it will also help them achieve their secondary goal of playing aggressively.
“We’ve been conditioning like crazy so we’re able to last in a game,” said senior captain and goalie John McCabe. “Our goal is to be the number one mentally and physically conditioned team in St. Louis.”
The captains are also looking to foster a “team” atmosphere in an effort to further motivate their teammates to play not just for themselves, but for each other.
“We leave the locker room as a team, and we enter the pool deck as a team,” said McCabe. “We want to enforce the team feeling.”
With their first game still over two weeks away, the team is growing anxious to test their skills against both St. Louis teams and teams from across the nation, and to prove themselves worthy of the lofty mantle left behind by the storied SLUH water polo program.
“We are excited to get in the pool and show our talent to everyone we play,” said junior captain Michael Kreienkamp.
In the meantime, the squad has time to continue to grow in brotherhood and in skill.
“We’re like a pack of salmon, rushing through the river together towards another banner season,” said McCabe.