Adirondack Water Polo Club offers opportunity to play and learn

What keeps club members coming back is the fun they have playing the sport, which is an aquatic combination of soccer, basketball and hockey with its seven-on-seven format, penalties and free throws.

"It's physically more demanding [than soccer or basketball] but it's less stressful on your knees and legs," said Reagan, who swam at Bethlehem Central High School in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"The main difference between this and regular swimming is that there's a lot more sprinting back and forth going on because the ball is constantly switching sides," said Jesaitis.

Walsh keeps the practices as fun as possible. After a short warm-up period, players practice their passing and shooting skills before breaking into a scrimmage. Walsh said he doesn't do a lot of hands-on teaching because many of the club members have played the sport for years, and the newcomers learn from the veterans.

"When we go to tournaments, it's definitely serious, but for the most part, it's fun," said Walsh.

"Everyone here is really experienced," said Jesaitis, who is returning to water polo after trying the sport several years ago in Philadephia. "There are some guys here who have been playing 20 to 30 years."

Ultimately, said Reagan, the club would like to help water polo flourish in the Capital District.

"I just wish we had more opportunities in this area to introduce young people to this sport," he said.

"We ran out of younger kids this year because the Empire State Games aren't happening," said Walsh.

In the meantime, the Adirondack Water Polo Club will continue to serve as an outlet for those who either want to learn the sport or who want to keep playing it.

"It's still fun. I can't give it up," said Reagan.""

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