After being cut from Varsity his Junior year, Nate Smith ’18 worked to improve his technique and joined the team as a Lower. Smith now leads the team with the role of Co-Captain.
While Smith enjoys the technical and strategic aspects of water polo, he especially enjoys the camaraderie on the team.
“I love the teamwork aspect and the enjoyment that comes out of not just when you succeed, but also when you see your friends succeed. The whole team is just elated, especially when we get some great goals or a nice block or steal,” said Smith.
According to Nico Madrid ’20 and Adam Vlasic ’20, Smith is always available for questions and help with anything, both in and out of the pool.
“He is always very willing to help out with techniques, with passing and shooting, and really with anything,” said Madrid.
“If you ever need advice, he is willing to give you that advice. You can always use him as a medium between the coach and yourself. He just adds a level of community to the team. He provides everyone with the sense that they are all at home on the team,” said Vlasic.
Vlasic and Madrid said that Smith is also great at communicating with others and getting people in the right mood, whether that be focused for practice or excited for games.
Vlasic said, “I think he is really good at controlling a group. He knows what to say. He knows how to get people hyped up and ready to go. I think that is one of the greatest qualities about him.”
“He is very good with people. He knows what people need to hear, and he can give it to them,” said Madrid.
Smith believes there are factors besides talent that have led to the success of the team this season.
“I think a lot of what has made our team successful this year is that there are so many returners on the team. This year, basically our entire Varsity team is identical. Basically the whole team started together. We’ve all grown together, learned together, played in JV games together. I think our chemistry just can’t be matched by anyone else,” said Smith.
Smith utilizes many traditional leadership strategies, such as leading the teams in cheers, and moral support.
“There are the straightforward ways: leading your teams in cheers and picking them up when we’re losing, a lot of moral support, and just being a cool head that everyone can come and talk to when they are frustrated with something,” said Smith.
Smith also leads by example; he uses his experience on the swim team to gain fast break opportunities and is able to generate many scoring opportunities, according to Madrid.
“He is a very strong player. He is usually able to make some very important plays that affect the game and help us win,” said Madrid.
The team has secured a spot in the playoffs, is currently the second seed in the league, and holds an 11-3 record with no games remaining in the regular season.
In their few losses this season, Smith did a good job of getting the team excited and ready for the next game, according to Vlasic. Smith is already focused on the team’s upcoming New England “Liquid Four” Tournament.
“He always focuses on the positives, which is nice. He is very forward-thinking and tells us to get them later on and get to the next game,” said Vlasic.
“I think we’re all excited to get into the tournament, play our hearts out, and compete for a championship. It’s also great to see all the younger guys on the team develop fully as we finish off the season,” said Smith.
Smith cherishes his memories from his time on the team, specifically the pair of overtime wins against Deerfield this season.
“I think our two games against Deerfield this year are probably some of my favorite memories I will ever have. Both of them we won in overtime by a score of 15-14, and both of them were crazy games and went to the end. My heart was pumping the whole time, and we were all trying to score and play great defense. Some of the best water polo we played came out. Those were just spectacular experiences that I’ll cherish for a long time,” said Smith.