By: Kristen Hong
Ciao from Florence! Today we embarked on the three-hour trek from Bogliasco to Florence. Our time in Genoa (the province that Bogliasco lies in) not only allowed us to learn the rich historical background of the area, but also imparted with us some great water polo experience. The Rari Nantes Bogliasco team, that we spent a majority of the time training with, is a fast and competitive D-1 team here in Italy. They had great passing and defense that then fed into their counter. Playing against a team with such a fast paced game really allowed us to grow both individually and as a unit. The Italian style of play has also helped us in our anticipation of the other team's actions.
I have actually traveled to Bogliasco in the past with my club team, Diablo, and I find that each time, I learn something new when training with a team of this caliber. The Harvard water polo team has a much different style and system than that of my previous team, but I think I am adjusting well. If I have learned one thing thus far in my Harvard water polo career, it is that we are a family. Although the time we spent together has been short, I am coming to the realization that my sisters have my back inside and outside of the pool. All of the upperclassmen have made my transition to collegiate water polo very smooth.
I am sorry to be leaving such a beautiful province but we are all excited to explore more of Italy! Today we were able to see a little bit of city after our workout at the pool in Florence. I found our training today to be very productive. The Florence team we played with was extremely aggressive and it took us a while to adjust to both their style of playing and the reffing. However, this is great practice for us because this season we will be playing against both aggressive and grabby teams and we will certainly have many different types of refs. Adaptability is an important part of having a successful team. In the end, we were able play at a level above all of the kicking, grabbing, and scratching and come away with a win. Coach Minnis is content with the strides we have made thus far as a team. We are all beginning to learn each other's playing styles and how everyone handles different aspects of the game. Overall, our team is coming together very well and we hope that this training trip will allow us great teamm bonding time and give with us the necessary skills we need to win a championship.