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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Mar. 18, 2020 2 years ago

West Orange Times & Observer: Sports Spotlight — Carter Swanson

West Orange junior Carter Swanson is stepping up as a leader for the water polo team this season.
by: Troy Herring Former Sports Editor

A junior on the West Orange High School boys water polo team, Carter Swanson has gone from the bench to being a key scoring threat for Jennifer Dailer’s team. Along with his time in the pool, Swanson also plays as an offensive lineman on the varsity football team.


How did you first get into playing water polo?

I got into water polo my ninth-grade year, (and) it was the meet the teacher before school actually started. I was in Cub Scouts and I knew one of the other people who played water polo — he was a senior at the time — and he was like, “Oh you should play; you like swimming and you like throwing balls, you’re strong.” 


What has been your favorite thing about playing water polo at West Orange?

My favorite thing about playing is communicating with my teammates, and seeing them happy when they score and seeing them happy when we win. Practicing hard and seeing it pay off in a game, and scoring — all of that.


Since you first started, what has been the biggest change that you’ve seen in yourself?

Coming in Day One I knew how to swim, but I didn’t know how to swim correctly — the forms and all that. I started from Square One learning how to do basic stuff and everyone was like, “There’s no way he is going to progress this way,” and then by the end of the year I was getting subbed in as a freshman with all the seniors and juniors that we had. Last year, we had 10 seniors that were on the team — I wasn’t starting, but I was the first sub in — and then this coming year, since we had all of them leave, I was the main guy.


What was it like for you going from not knowing how to even swim correctly to being a starter?

It was very tiring at first, because coach was like, “You’re going to be a main guy this year.” Coming off the bench I was like, “OK, I’m going to go in for two to three minutes,” I would go all out and be dead after that. 


What is the most challenging part about your position? What’s your favorite part?

The part that is most difficult for me is trying to get open with a guy trying to drown you by pulling you down, but when you’re in set it’s the main position to score from — you’re trying to get open, get the ball and then score as fast as possible. What makes it most fun is you get to score a lot more than any other position. 


What are the best words of advice you’ve been given about water polo?

Mentally it’s going to drown you, but once you get mentally prepared for it, everything else falls into place. Once you get over that mental hump during that game — around the first quarter — I’m like, “I’m tired, I just want to fall off my dude, but I have to do it, so I have to push through.”


When you’re not playing water polo or doing school work, what do you like doing in your spare time?

Watching water polo — watching my games, making sure I critique what I need to critique, and making sure I’m like, “OK, what plays are going to work when they’re doing this.”

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Troy Herring was the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and

See All Articles by Troy

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