After being introduced to the sport his Junior year, Head Coach Travis Bouscaren ’14 played for Andover Boys Water Polo all four years. In his Senior year, Bouscaren helped Andover win its first Nepsac championship in the school’s history, emerging as the tournament’s MVP. After graduating from Andover, Bouscaren was selected for the USA Water Polo Youth National Team and was recruited to play Division 1 water polo at Brown University. Bouscaren has returned to Andover as the head coach of the Boys Water Polo program, joining Coach Alicia Finney and Coach Jill Meyer ’09.
How was your experience playing water polo at Andover?
Head Coach Travis Bouscaren ’14: I was introduced to the sport [my Junior] year at Andover. I came in as a swimmer and all the swimmers strongly encouraged me to keep in swim shape as well as learn a new sport in the fall. I always remember, my [Junior] year, the Senior on the team who took me under his wing and knew that I was new to the sport and he had four years of experience. Every race, he would go right next to me and he would beat me every time but he would always joke around with me about it. There was just so much support from the older guys [Junior] year which I really appreciated, and I think that Andover is really good about nurturing that [Junior] to Senior and underclassmen to upperclassmen relationship.
What was your proudest moment in your Andover Water Polo career?
Coach Bouscaren: We’re always kind of the underdogs at Andover for water polo. With the small pool and our swim team that is usually very strong, our water polo team was always the underdogs. We would always lose in the playoffs and then, senior year, everything came together and we brought some non-swimmers on which created a lot of physicality which was super helpful. I remember that senior year, we were still underdogs going into the tournament and we ended up beating the top seeds and winning the tournament for the first time in Andover’s history, which was just the proudest moment in my Andover career.
How would you describe your experience playing water polo at Brown University?
Coach Bouscaren: I’m just super thankful that I got to learn the sport at Andover because I got recruited to Brown [University]. It was a great decision for me to go to Brown, and I have to thank Andover for the opportunity because otherwise, I would not have been able to play water polo. At Brown, the water polo team was my family for four years. Through thick and thin, I was there every practice with them and it was just the tightest group of 20 guys that I could ask for. I am sure I missed out on a lot of other things that went on at Brown because of all the time commitment that water polo takes, but I also would not have changed anything because I developed the closest group of friends every year.
What are you looking forward to in your new role as head coach?
Coach Bouscaren: Before I started, I was really looking forward to digging through my memory of all the different drills and how I’ve trained for water polo my whole life and sharing that and giving that experience to kids to whom water polo is pretty new. I was really excited to come back and share my experience that I started at Andover with these kids. But since I have started the season, the best part has been just showing up every day and having 15 kids with positive attitudes and great energy and I feed off of that energy every day. Before I started, it was that ability to share my experience with the sport, but since I have started it has really just been being able to interact while socially distanced with 15 wonderful kids every day. They bring so much energy to the pool deck that I have not experienced in many years so I really appreciate being able to share my experience, but at the same time, for that hour and a half, I get to experience their hard work and energy.
What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned in your experience with water polo and how will you pass that on to your athletes?
Coach Bouscaren: I think something I have learned with water polo is that you really cannot control everything and you cannot focus on or worry about the things you can’t control… You just need to move on and learn from the experience, and it’s tough because there are no games to relay this to the kids on the deck…You just have to learn that you’re given this goal and you’re given this opportunity, it doesn’t matter where it came from or it’s not quite fair, it’s never going to be fair in the end, but as long as you put 110-percent of effort into that position or that play and stop worrying about what you can’t control, that’s a very important skill to have in water polo because there are so many things that are outside of your control, and dwelling on them is a waste of your energy.