Aug 03, 2020
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Aiming for national championship

Women’s water polo club member Megan Eldredge practices with the team at Clovis West High School. The team finished third in the nation last season.
Andrew Riggs / The Collegian.

They may have to raise their own funds and book their own hotel rooms for out-of-town matches, but that hasn’t stopped Fresno State’s women’s water polo club members from making a splash in the pool this season.

The club is ranked second in the 2007 Women’s Club Top 20, according to the Collegiate Water Polo Association.

The water polo club competes with other schools such as UC Davis, CSU Chico, Saint Mary’s College and California Maritime Academy.

For the past two years, the club has been invited to the national collegiate club tournament. Only two teams from California get an opportunity to go and compete with teams that placed first in their division all across the country.

The first year the club went to a tournament, it received 10th place out of 16 teams. Last year the club was named 15th seed, but quickly worked its way up to third in the nation by the end of the season.

“This year because California got split into two [divisions], there is a very strong look for us to go to the national championship,” Beth Bartlett, club president and co-captain said.

Head coach Patrick Guyett agreed. “Our primary goal is to stay undefeated and win the national championship,” Guyett said.

Any full time student attending Fresno State who has some water polo background is encouraged to join.

Levels of the club members vary from high school to college level.

“We have players ranging from all different levels of competition,” Bartlett said.

The club members have varied skill levels, but that hasn’t held them back.

“We are by far the most the most aggressive team in the conference. We are very physical and not afraid to mix it up,” Guyett said.

Team members agreed.

“We’ve become more than friends. It’s nice to have people back you up in any situation,” Imai said.

Some advantages for members of the club include traveling and being on a competitive water polo team with the opportunity to go to Boston for the national championships.

With the exception of Associated Students and President Welty, which provide the club with a certain amount of funding each semester, the water polo club is in charge of financing its own trips including finding a ride to the events and funding their own hotel rooms for competitions and tournaments.

The club raises money by sponsoring different events.

“We’ve done a golf tournament, a poker tournament, hosted a couple car washers, asked sponsors and Bulldog supporters, friends and families too,” club member Laura Imai said. “Sometimes Associated Students and President Welty give us money at the end if we can’t make it.”

The next club tournament will be held on April 14 to 15 at Clovis West High School. Anyone wishing to cheer on the team is encouraged to attend.

For more information or questions about the women’s water polo club contact Beth Bartlett at gotpolo@hotmail.com.

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