Water Polo Co-Captain Hailey Wadell ’21 comes from an extensive swimming background and guides the team with her lively spirit. Starting without any experience playing water polo in her Junior year, Wadell gradually earned more playing time and gained a passion for the new sport. In her Senior season, she has focused on preparing the inexperienced players for the coming years of competitive water polo play. According to Wadell, she began water polo to train for swim season but quickly came to love it as she played in more games. “I hadn’t played [water polo] before I came to Andover. I am a swimmer and a lot of the girls who do water polo in the spring do crew or water polo because it is good cross training. I fell in love with water polo and it is definitely one of my favorite sports. I started my [Junior] year and I have been on the team for four years. I think all the [Co-]Captains did not really play a lot [Junior] Year [but in] Lower Year, we got a bit more playing time. I played a lot of the games in full which was exhausting but I loved it. It is a fairly new passion for me,” said Wadell. Wadell credits her swimming ability for her success in the pool playing water polo. She noted her ability to win tip offs at the beginning of each game. Wadell said, “I am a swimmer so I definitely think having that type of background helps me. I am normally the person who does the tip offs, which is where you have to sprint down the pool to get to the ball before the other team does, and that is how you start the game. Being the first person back to defend and the first person up to attack is a lot about swimming.” According to Co-Captain Gwen Empie ’21, Wadell uses her voice to lead the team in a caring way and is a leader that her teammates can rely on. Empire mentioned how she has a special bond with Wadell as they have been roommates and on the swim team together. “As a person, I would say Hailey is very organized, very confident, very loud in the best way, and very, very respectful. Every interaction I’ve had with Hailey has been making sure I’m okay; she’s, very, very loyal. If I ever need anything, Hailey is the first person I would call. I’ve also gotten really really close with Hailey outside of the pool. We also came in the [Junior] water polo season together; we’ve been on the team together for four years. We’re on the swim team together, she was my roommate last term, so Hailey and I definitely have a special relationship that you don’t get with everyone on your team,” said Empie. According to Wadell, the absence of past seasons has affected the experience level of the team and she works to provide insight that younger players can use to find success in the coming seasons. With the new ability to scrimmage, she focuses on embracing competitive play and showing the rest of the team the true nature of the sport. “We haven’t been able to scrimmage for two years because of [Covid-19] but we just got the go ahead to scrimmage with our team with full contact. We are not competing, but right now, we are trying to get our newer players to know what a scrimmage is and know what contact is like because we have had two years without that contact… Building up to a full game with four quarters for the whole team is something that would be an end goal just because we have players that have not done that yet. We need to focus on building the team for the years to come because the team has not played for two seasons and our leaders next year are going to have one year of playing the sport instead of three that normally comes with being a Senior [Co-]Captain. The younger players haven’t had a season, so giving them the traditions, the experience, and team values should [allow these aspects of the team to] be carried into the next four years,” said Wadell.