Miss Independent: The UO Women's Water Polo Team's Efforts Outside the Pool

-Eleni Pappelis

Sophomore Jenness Howery is an athlete at the University of Oregon. She participates in the university’s women’s water polo team but has been a swimmer since high school. She swam for Sheldon High School and was introduced to water polo her junior year. Having not gotten enough of her new found extracurricular, she joined the University of Oregon’s club women’s water polo team which she claims is the best decision she ever made.

The women water polo team at the University of Oregon consists of twenty-seven girls. Because club sports at the university are insufficiently funded, it is the women’s water polo team’s responsibility to fund expenses such as pool time and money to travel. The girls practice Monday through Thursday in Springfield. The team partakes in five traveling tournaments a season, January through April, and nationals extend through May which is based on the outcomes of regional tournaments. These tournaments take place in states such as Washington, Arizona, and California.

Howery explains, “It’s really important that we fundraise. Obviously it’s important to help girls who can’t pay the full amount to participate, but it’s also important to make sure to be successful inside and outside the water.”

Each year, the team comes up with fun and creative ways to fund themselves. Some activities include cleaning up Matthew Knight Arena after games or events, sending letters to friends and family to donate money, and selling donuts, cookies, and shirts. Restaurants such as Track Town Pizza and Panda Express participate and have donated a percent of their profits on a scheduled day to the team.

One of Howery’s favorite fundraisers is a banquet held for the highest donors. This banquet is waited by the team and includes a silent auction with prizes from gift baskets to resort vacations. Howery explains that this particular event is special to her because the whole team is bonding to support themselves.

These ladies consistently make it to nationals, and have been working hard to uphold the success they make for themselves.

Image from http://pages.uoregon.edu/duckpolo/index.html

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