A dauntingly inexperienced team in their hands, Co-Captains Henry Kennelly ’13 and Travis Bouscaren ’14 have led Andover Boys Water Polo to exceed expectations with a recent two-game win streak.
Both Kennelly and Bouscaren approach their positions as co-captains by leading by example.
“From my perspective, Henry is an extraordinary captain: he leads by doing, not by talking,” said Coach David Fox.
“I try to lead by example,” said Bouscaren. “I want players to be able to see what I am doing and copy it.”
Interestingly, neither of the two came to Andover with much experience in the pool.
“I was afraid of water,” said Henry Kennelly ’13. “I was always a terrible swimmer.”
Three years ago, Kennelly took up water polo with zero experience after a recommendation from his crew coach, Peter Washburn.
“I started water polo, and it was really tough,” Kennelly said. “I was awful at swimming, and it was a real struggle to stay up a lot of the time.”
His passion for the sport, however, enabled him to persevere. “I really liked the guys on the team, I really respected them, and when Coach Fox offered me the opportunity [to play on the team], I didn’t want to let him down,” he continued.
“No one has worked harder than Henry, and his peers have always noticed this,” said Fox.
Instead of being handicapped by his swimming, he became an even better athlete because of it.
“Henry’s improvement, his physical strength, his toughness and his worth ethic all combine to make him a strong leader for our program,” added Fox.
While the team looks up to Kennelly’s athleticism and work ethic, it relies on Bouscaren to contribute to skill and strategy.
“With some of the newer players, I try to show them what they can improve on, what I would do, and then I make them try it again sot hey can perfect it,” said Bouscaren. “In between periods I pount out what we’re doing well, as well as what we can do to stop them and win the game.”
The captains’ goals for the team are not based on final scores. Rather,they are mostly concerned with the team’s cohesiveness and mental preparation. “In the past, we would get up by a few points, and then the other team would score one goal and we would shut down. A lot of us come from different sports with different mentalities,” said Kennelly.
“Crew is very much a team sport, but not at all in the way water polo is. So I wanted to get guys to try and figure out how to mentally prepare for a team sport and how to execute on game day,” he said. “I think we’ve succeeded. One thing that’s noticeably different about our team is the dynamic: it’s a really close group of guys and we have a lot of fun together. Having that relationship… it’s definitely made a big difference.”
Similarly, Bouscaren emphasizes the team’s energy as being crucial to success.
“Most importantly, the captains energize the team and get them pumped up for the upcoming game,” said Bouscaren.
Despite crew being his main sport, Kennelly also hopes to continue playing water polo after graduating from Andover. “It’s a sport that’s so much fun. If anyone tried to play, even if they just stood in the bottom of the pool, they’d fall in love.”
With Kennelly as its passionate, determined role model and Bouscaren as its smart, helpful mentor, Andover Water Polo looks to keep on improving and finish off the season strong.