Since the beginning of the program, Andover Boys Water Polo has held all practices and games in the 1912 Borden Memorial Pool. The team played its final home game in Borden on October 22 and will transition to a larger and deeper pool in the Pan Athletic Center next season.
According to Marcel Montemayor ’23, the smaller, more isolated pool environment in Borden created a tight-knit community within the team.
“My favorite part about playing and practicing in Borden would probably be… how close we are to each other. The pool isn’t that big, so we’re kind of just forced to talk to each other [and] participate when we’re not doing drills, or when we’re just chilling. Borden also makes us feel at home because… during practices we just feel away from school, away from all the stress, away from all the work. It’s just an opportunity to have fun,” said Montemayor.
The tighter space also provided the team with extra confidence and motivation during games, especially from the thunderous echoes and cheering of the crowd, according to Marek Deveau ’23.
“I know a lot of players like playing and practicing in wider pools, but I kind of like the small pool just because… it just gives me the feeling that I can shoot from anywhere. Also, when there’s a ton of fans in the crowd, it gets super loud, and there’s an echo, so it’s fun when people show up to support the games,” said Deveau.
Surrounding the pool are inspirational messages, banners, and photos that serve as daily reminders of the team’s past achievements and core values, according to Montemayor and Trey Wolfe ’23.
“You get to see the history around you. Walking in, sometimes you see the records, sometimes you see the pictures that are up in Borden and the All-Americans. For me, I see a couple [of] pictures, and I’m like, ‘Alright, I want to be up there one day.’ We see the banners as well, and for the one water polo banner we have, we want to be back to where we once were,” said Montemayor.
“Walking out of the locker room, there are two signs. One of them says ‘Swim fast’ and the other one says ‘Do your job,’ and those have been up there longer than I have been at the school, so… it is something you see every day. It’s a reminder to do well, and try your best,” added Wolfe.
Understanding that the team would be leaving behind the program’s rich history in Borden, each player this season wanted to commemorate the program’s original pool by playing at their very best, according to Deveau.
“Towards the end of the season, everyone in the back of their minds, as much as we don’t want to bring it up, is saying that it’s going to be the last few games in this pool. Everyone knows it, so everyone tries to step it up. Coach always says to play as if you were a Senior, so everyone tries to take on a bigger role and really be careful with their plays and not make any stupid mistakes,” said Deveau.
Wolfe and Montemayor both believe that the water polo program will be strengthened significantly with the move to the Pan Athletic Center.
“You know, it is a little sad to see the 1912 pool go, but at the same time, having a bigger pool means we’ll be able to have a bigger JV program. We’ll be able to attract more swimmers and water polo players, and because of that, over the years, it’s just going to make the aquatics program so much better,” said Wolfe.
“For playing in a new facility, we’ll not only be able to play water polo the way it’s supposed to be without having a shallow end and touching the bottom but also, I think the new environment will help the team improve. The team by the end of the season next year will be a lot stronger physically, emotionally, and mentally, to the point where we can try our best to do anything,” added Montemayor.