[Mudd-letics]: Story of an Intramural Sport

Hello everybody! Today’s blog is dedicated to an intramural sport that is near and dear to the hearts of Mudders. While there are a vast number of offerings for Varsity, Club, and Intramural sports alike, this sport is by far the most popular. So popular in fact, reporter Allie Gould from The Student Life, the Claremont Colleges newspaper, did a profile on Harvey Mudd students which is accessible by clicking on the picture below. It’s a sport that is hard to prepare for coming into Mudd and many students, both athletes and non-athletes alike, see it as a right of passage. The sport? Inner Tube Water Polo.

This is a sport so popular that it’s offered twice a year and while I have yet to play, I have enjoyed watching this entertaining display of swimming, splashing, and scoring.  But you don’t just have to take my word for it. I sat down with a few couple of students to discuss their experiences in the pool.

Four students, one male and three females playing inner tube water polo. The male is reaching in front of one of the females to catch the yellow water polo ball. Two students are sitting inside of yellow pool inner tubes while the other two are inside of white pool inner tubes.

Harvey Mudd students playing inner tube water polo. Photo courtesy of Amy Best from The Student Life.

A Few Words from the Players

I first talked with Nathan Sunbury ‘21 who told me all about his experience with the sport.

Did you play Inner Tube Water Polo before coming to Harvey Mudd?

“No. This is the first time I had ever heard of it.”

Why did you decide to try it at Mudd?

“It seemed pretty cool. I mean, I had never done regular water polo in high school  because it seemed like a lot and kind of violent. This seemed like a lot more fun with the same elements as regular water polo. It seemed cool and unique, so I thought I would try it. I did swim team  in high school, so I was kind of comfortable in the water.”

What was your team name?

“The East Dorm Breadfish”

Would you say most Inner Tube Water Polo teams from Mudd are formed by dorms?

“Yeah, I think so for the most part. I mean you got a few, sort of, free agents, but for the most part you team with your dorm.”

Could you give a few highlights from this past year?

“Every game is different. Sometimes it will be a blowout and sometimes it will be neck and neck. Our strong suit, I guess, is we have some really good forwards. So when we can move the ball around and get it to them, they can shoot really well. There was one time I was up towards the net and I was facing backwards, because you kind of have to be backwards from the way you are trying to push. I didn’t have any open passing options, so I just chucked the ball behind my head at the goal. It almost made it in, but it would have been cool if it had.”

Were you glad you participated?

“Yeah definitely.There’s been a couple of semesters where I haven’t been as active, but I’ve done it every semester that I have been here. It’s been a lot of fun!”

After talking with Nathan, I also reached out to a few of other students who each played for their dorms this past year and had this to say:

“Participating was a fun way to be involved in dorm culture and get to know other people in my dorm. I wasn’t even particularly good at playing, but it is a fun activity.”  Alex Hadley ‘22, Sontag Dorm

“Inner tube water polo was great. It’s a sport you can enjoy because no one has trained for it for a long time.” Santiago Rodriguez ’22, Sontag Dorm

“It’s welcoming to first time players and dorm spirit is really strong.”  Jackie Pham ‘22, Atwood Dorm

So, whether you are lifelong athlete, looking for a fun way to get some exercise in, or an incoming frosh eager to get more familiar with your fellow dorm mates you can definitely find your place in the pool.