The Harvard women's water polo team and Bella huddle up before practice (Harvard Athletic Communications).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard women's water polo team welcomed its newest team member when five-year-old Bella Padilla was added to the roster as part of the Team IMPACT Draft Day.
"I'm very excited for our team to be partnering up with Team IMPACT, and our newest member of our team, Bella," Harvard women's water polo head coach Ted Minnis said. "It's great to have her come and be a part of our team. The girls have really enjoyed meeting her and having her on the pool deck with her family. We're excited for her to learn more about our sport and us to learn more about Bella."
As part of her draft dray experience, Bella met her new teammates, received her official team uniform and t-shirt and an autographed pink water polo ball before taking part in her first practice with her new teammates.
During the season, Bella will be able to attend practice and join the team on the bench during games. She also has her own decorated locker in the team locker room where she can get ready before practices and home games.
Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses through the creation of unparalleled team based support systems. Core to the model is harnessing the power of teamwork by matching these courageous kids with college athletic teams. After Bella's application to the program, she was paired with the Harvard women's water polo team, and she will be an official member of the squad throughout the duration of her treatment and beyond.
The Crimson opens its season Feb. 2 with a tripleheader at Blodgett Pool in the Harvard Home Kick Off. Saturday is one of two home dates on the Crimson's schedule this season with the other coming against Brown April 3.