Photo Courtesy of Kelley McLellan
After nearly four years, the Chamblee water polo team has departed from a co-ed sports model, where both boys and girls compete and practice on the same team. A system no two athletes seem to have the same opinion on, this change to the sport has brought a new splash to the pool.
Some athletes felt that the coaches preferred co-ed.
“They liked it better, it was more focused on everyone that way,” said Natalie Price (‘24), a player for the girls water polo team.
The athletes noticed the coaches liked the co-ed model better as well when there were more members to disperse as alternates, keeping the energy levels up and making the games more exciting.
“We would all be more energized. With co-ed gone, we have fewer people on our team. And since they’re being split off to a different team [it] makes the game boring,” said Demetrius Daniels (‘23) a player for the boys A team.
Now that the teams are split up, minimizing players, the games are muted down with the exhaustion of athletes having to play almost every round.
During co-ed, some players felt the coaches would use the supposed ‘inclusivity’ to their advantage and focus on the better players as disposal.
“It’s just more stressful, and the coaches were always focused on the good players which were really the guys, and because there were only like three or four girls on the entire team,” said Grayson Rodemsky (‘24) a player for the girls team, “The girls trained just as hard as the guys did and we performed at the same level.”
From an athlete’s perspective, they are glad to leave co-ed behind.
“I’m just glad that we don’t have one anymore,” said Price.
During co-ed, they could see differences between the natural abilities between the sexes.
“When we would have scrimagges and games, it was different and harder to go up against a guy if you’re a girl at all, with their natural athleticness and easy muscle,” said Rodemsky.
To add to the strength divide between the sexes, there seemed to be an uneven balance of sexes prior to the co-ed change. Now, there are three guys teams and only one girls team while during co-ed the teams were combined, leaving the boys to make up two thirds of the team. This could easily allow extracurricular activities to be dominated by boys.
Not only did co-ed foster a divide in gender, kids years apart from each other in skill and age would go head to head.
“There could be like a seventh grader going against a senior,” said Rodemsky.
With co-ed gone, the roster for the water polo girls team is filling up.
“It’s really nice to finally have a girls team, especially since most of the league is transitioning towards separating the girls and guys,” said Maddie Murphy (‘22), a player for the girls water polo team, “We have a great group of girls. They’re really young so our program has a lot of prospects.”
With the co-ed splash rippling out, the Chamblee water polo team is giving the model a welcome departure.