USA Women’s Underwater Rugby Improving on the path to World’s

By Lindsay Walker.

In May the tryouts for the USA Women’s Underwater Rugby Team was completed. Many players traveled to Florida for a tournament and coach, Juan Sevillano made use of this time to conduct fitness tests on Friday and the final of three tryouts on Monday following the tournament.

34 women came to the third tryout. The number and caliber of players was a significant improvement from previous years. Juan has shown his dedication to the process by sending the players drills and expectations in advance, recruiting volunteers to help with timing during fitness testing, and communicating the selection process with the players from beginning to end.

Juan brought in an amazing player, Natalia Londoño, from Columbia to teach scoring and other drills. Together they broke down many skills and allowed the players ample time to practice. The idea being that even women who don’t make the team can continue to improve and help others grow. The players broke out in scrimmage to allow Juan to analyze their skills under pressure in game situation, with focus on fast passing and avoiding attackers/surface play.

The mood was excellent at the wrap up of the tryouts. Juan and veteran player, Laurie Picot McGrath, highlighted the growth that’s been made with this group of women and the sport of underwater rugby in America. The vast majority of players met up for a meal and to celebrate the conclusion of a great weekend.

Players sent in their recommendations for a “dream team” and Juan announced team selection shortly after. The larger group was whittled down to 21 players, with many women commenting on how difficult it was to select which players moved on. The coach wanted 20 players but several were at the same level, so he selected them all.

What’s next? These 21 players will train hard, in and out of the pool, to improve their skills. Already several women are in Columbia to practice with the experienced teams there and 3 teammates from Boston are set to travel to Sweden for a training camp. 15 players will be selected to attend Worlds in Graz, Austria in Summer 2019.

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