New team consists of athletes, but no water polo history

by: KRISTOPHER ANDERSON - The Sandy boys water polo team, coached by Kriag Lofstedt, above, is returning to the pool this season after a three-year absence.

Four years ago, eight players graduated from the Sandy boys water polo team, a number too large to replace. The program couldn’t survive, at least for that year, so the 2009 season was canceled.

The following year, coaches put all their energy into recruiting in the hallways and at freshmen orientation, hoping to build a nucleus that would last for seasons to come. But it wasn’t a success. Not in 2010 or 2011.

The coaches were at work again this year, but with games quickly approaching, it seemed this would be another lost season. During the first week of daily doubles, coach Kraig Lofstedt told the few players who turned out about the unfortunate likelihood.

But, as if this were a Disney movie, the players tried to save the program. The next day at school they recruited hard in the hallways and later showed up at practice with a handful of new players — enough to field a team.

So, yes, Sandy will have boys water polo in 2012, but nobody knows what to expect. There are no players with prior water polo experience, and only one player — Kirk Thomson — is on the Pioneers’ swim team.

“They could all swim before,” Lofstedt says. “Would I let them swim in the deep end without an adult? No.”

After some advanced swim lessons during the first couple weeks of practice, the team is starting to learn the fundaments of the sport. And while working on different aspects, Lofstedt sees one strength his team has.

“The good thing about the boys is a bunch of them are baseball players, so they all have arms,” Lofstedt says.

Canyon Dwyre is one of those, and, Lofstedt says, “he’s by far out best scorer.” He adds that Thomson “is our best swimmer.”

And while the Pioneers worked on their swimming stroke for the first week or two, they haven’t spent much time on conditioning.

“The approach this season with the boys has been a lot more on fundamentals and technique rather than swimming because you don’t want to drive the kids off,” Lofstedt says. “I could do it right now. They enjoy it. They love it.”

Lofstedt admits that will be a weakness.

“Conditioning is going to hurt us,” he says. “We’re not in the same shape as a lot of the other boys teams just because they’re all new to the sport.”

This season is an introductory to water polo, for the entire team. But Lofstedt is confident in the natural ability the team possesses. Even in a short amount of time, he’s seen his players start to reach some of the potential. And if that continues, Lofstedt is encouraged about the results the team could have.

“They’ve come a long ways in the short amount of time the season’s been going,” he says. “Knowing I have two months to work with them, we can make something happen. If they work hard enough, we can make something happen. I think we’ll definitely be able to surprise some folks.”

Sports reporter Kristopher Anderson can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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