Two first-year students aim to start water polo club

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

After meeting each other by chance at the orientation activities fair as they both searched for a water polo club that does not exist, Rasa Petrauskaite ’08 and Eric Christiansen ’08 took it upon themselves to organize a water polo club at Swat.

Commented Petrauskaite, “As soon as I got to the Activities Fair I asked where the Water Polo table was. When they said ‘we don’t have a water polo club,’ I asked if I could borrow some pen and paper and I walked through the crowd shouting ‘water polo, water polo!’” Christiansen also went to the Activities Fair in hopes of joining the water polo club. To their dismay, they found out that the Swarthmore Clubs and Organizations webpage was outdated, and they became determined to change this reality. Although the swim team plays water polo on Fridays from 4 – 5:30, and there technically is a chartered water polo club, it has been years since anyone joined and it has never been as serious as Christiansen and Rasa hope to make it.

Both of them cite the intramural water polo club listed on the site as a reason for choosing Swarthmore over another school. Petrauskaite and Christiansen both happen to be from California, where water polo is a big deal. Petrauskaite’s high school, about the size of Swarthmore, has four water polo teams: two varsity and two junior varsity. Petrauskaite was a member of the varsity team at her school, and Christiansen, whose school is one of the best in California at water polo, also played on a team. So they want to share their passion with the rest of Swarthmore.

Christiansen and Petrauskaite are continuing the work of Kaena Horowitz ’06, who worked hard towards a similar goal last year. Christiansen says that their “ultimate pie-in-the-sky goal is to have it become a varsity sport.” Before doing so, they hope to join a local league.

In order to accomplish this feat, they first need to get funding from the school because they do not want to start the club without the appropriate equipment. “We don’t want to be looked at as a joke,” says Christiansen. So far they have been using a bench instead of a cage, a soccer and not a water polo ball, and they have not been wearing any caps. Although they have yet to receive a response from Student Council, they do not expect funding to be a major issue. The cost of caps, a cage, and a ball would all be within $200.

They also need people to join their club. So far they have 23 interested students. Because this number reflects the efforts of just one person walking through a crowd, Petrauskaite and Christiansen expect a larger list.

When asked about the reality of all these things being accomplished, they expressed themselves very confidently. Christiansen said, “I know it’s going to happen it’s not a matter of whether it will exist, but when it will exist.”

If you are interested in joining the club and/or contributing to Petrauskaite and Christiansen’s efforts, you can reach them at

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