Five Questions for Ethan Moy of Washington & Jefferson Water Polo

Ethan Moy in action last fall at Washington & Jefferson. Photo Courtesy: Paul Shea

By Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor

Outside of producing Olympian Wolf Wigo, New York City has not been known for youth water polo. But in recent years a handful of age group clubs—Brooklyn Height St. Francis, Mako Polo of Imagine Swimming and Y Pro—have developed college-ready players. Coached by Zoli Danko, who played at St. Francis Brooklyn, two former Makos currently play varsity polo: sophomore Clyde Huibregtse at MIT and freshman Ethan Moy at Washington & Jefferson.

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A graduate of the High School for Math, Science, Engineering at City College, Moy didn’t plan to play polo his freshman year. But W&J Head Coach Nikola Malezanov is very glad he did. As a walk-on, not only did the native New Yorker provide much needed depth to a thin Presidents roster, Moy’s coach cited his young player as a valued contributor in what was a rebuilding year for W&J.

“Ethan is a great kid and hard worker who improved a lot throughout the season,” Malezanov said in an email. “He’ll be even better next year.”

Swimming World recently caught up with Moy by email about his experience playing polo in New York City and Erie, PA, playing for Malezanov, one of the country’s most promising young coaches and what it will take to elevate his game.

– You grew up in New York City— and your high school didn’t even have a water polo team. What made it possible for you to walk on and play polo for Washington & Jefferson?

New York City is a difficult place to cultivate elite athleticism. Being in a specialized high school with a heavy workload while also commuting between all my activities was quite challenging. Keeping a strong, positive mind set and doing extra workouts was the only way I could nurture my water polo skills.

Not having a high school water polo team did not affect me negatively because I had a club team to play with. Zoli is a great coach who gave me a strong foundation with what Imagine provided. I started playing with the club when it first started and was ecstatic at the progress we made, especially with the upcoming generation of players.

– The Presidents are a Division III program that competes in the CWPA’s Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference-West. What did your first season at W&J teach you about playing NCAA varsity water polo?

My first season as a President was fun and exciting but also tough; we were in a rebuilding stage. During the season, I developed a bond with my teammates that was strong. W&J is special in that we have great team chemistry. Everyone knows each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which helped us grow as a team and as individuals both in and out of the pool.

Playing at the varsity level, I had to learn quickly. With my non-traditional water polo background, having a younger team and not playing on a high school team, I had to catch up with my teammates. However, with one of the best coaches in the country and teammates that have my back, I was able improve my water polo skills and acclimate to college well.

– Last summer your head coach led the US. Men’s Cadet National Team to a gold medal in the Darko Cukic Memorial Tournament—beating Croatia and host Serbia along the way. What has it been like to play for Coach Malezanov?

Nikola encompasses all the qualities you find in a high-level coach. He is knowledgeable about the game and able to teach and communicate to us effectively. Not only is he a great coach in terms of water polo, but also a great coach when it comes to school. I’m in a few science classes which requires me to do lab during some practice times. He was very understanding about my class conflicts. He allows us to flourish not only as players, but also as scholars. He knows that we are here to play competitive water polo at a high level in addition to succeeding academically.

– W&J is a very strong school academically; how do you balance the demands of a college education and the desire to improve in your sport?

My high school experience helped me transition into my new stage of life as a collegiate athlete. I went to one of the top public high schools in the country, The High School for Math, Science, and Engineering (HSMSE), which was farther away from home for me. In a sense, during high school, I was already balancing my demanding schedule with water polo, school, and much more.

Other than already practicing having a difficult schedule, I have motivation to improve my sport along with my education. Right now, I still want to do well in school and in water polo and as long as this desire still burns, I’ll be able to balance both out. When you have passion for something, you will work hard at it and this will apply to anything I decide to do in the future.

– Obviously, the idea is always to improve. What will you do to prepare for a strong sophomore season in 2018?

Preparing for the sophomore season, I definitely want to put on some more pounds to help increase my strength. I’m planning to analyze film to learn the mental part of the game. As a team, we are also preparing to welcome the new W&J freshman players to the team and make sure we continue building our strong team chemistry by including them and getting to know them.

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Author: Michael Randazzo

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Michael Randazzo is a freelance contributor at Swimming World focusing on water polo. He covers polo all over the United States for SW and other publications, including the Collegiate Water Polo Association, Skip Shot, The New York Times, Total Water Polo, Water Polo Planet and others. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children and roots for St. Francis Brooklyn polo.

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