Water polo isn’t only for the boys of the O.C

Lisa DiTuro

Every Thursday night we are hopelessly glued to our television screens from 8 until 9 p.m. trying to get a glimpse of the fantastic world of “The O.C.”

What keeps us watching?

Is it the gorgeous beaches? The ridiculously elaborate high school? The torrid romances? Or is it those hunky members of the men’s water polo team? This is certainly what’s making the girls of “The O.C.” swoon. Zach and Luke, “The O.C.’s” resident water polo studs, have both scored the likes of Marissa and Summer, “The O.C.’s” two hottest female citizens, and have left the rest of the student body swooning. And the godliness of the water polo team has left witty, sensitive boys like Seth Cohen feeling a bit inadequate. But as his plucky best friend Anna informed him before leaving the show:

Anna: Do you know what girls find sexy? Seth: Nope. Uh, wait, let me guess. Dudes who play water polo?

Anna: Confidence!

Well, lucky enough for Villanova girls, our water polo team has both those bases covered with a conference championship under its belt. You don’t have to go all the way to Orange County to find swoon-worthy fellas, just head on over to the Pavilion pool.

You may not be aware but Villanova does have a water polo team, and an extremely talented one at that. Although of club stature, Villanova has a very decorated and impressive water polo history.

This past November Villanova traveled to Notre Dame to take part in the Men’s National Collegiate Club Water Polo championships. Only 16 teams in the nation are invited to take part, and Nova got their birth by securing the Mid Atlantic Championship. The Cats went undefeated in conference play with a 7-0 record and even beat two established varsity funded programs in Fordham and Queens. The Wildcats finished seventh at Nationals, over-performing their seeded ranking of ninth. They defeated Florida International University 6-4 before losing 6-10 to the University of Michigan, who were at that time the reigning National champions, having won in 2003.

With a roster of 15, Villanova plays a deep bench, as the physically demanding sport requires team members to take a breather, but a decorated cast dives into the pool to start each game. Sophomore goalie Tom Hallett was elected mid-Atlantic division player of the year, and along with him law student Brad Barron, junior Mike Gordon and sophomore Rob Mida were named to the mid-Atlantic first team. Fellow law student Greg Fox made second team.

“We are a real close-knit group,” Junior Daniel Janniello says of the team. “We definitely hang out outside the pool.” Inside the pool the guys participate in an intense work out regime to maintain that striking water polo physique, and to hone their craft. In season they practice every weekday for threehours. The first hour and a half they spend swimming, 4,000-5,000 yards, and for the remaining hour and a half they do conditioning drills, set up their offense and defense, and occasionally spend some time out of the water with chalk talk.

The boys do have a spring season, but it is not as intense. Their practice schedule is much lighter and they have weekend games to help keep the team afloat. But don’t worry, even their lightened schedule is enough to keep them as chiseled as the boys of “The O.C.” So take some time away from that fantasy world and check out the real thing Feb. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Pavilion pool. When asked how he felt about donning the uniform Speedo, Janniello smiled. “I have no problems with it at all,” he said. “They are surprisingly quite comfortable.”