This past summer, Bahamian water polo players Nicholas Wallace-Whitfield and Saequan Miller were in action for senior men’s national water polo team. This past weekend, they were on the opposite side of the water as they battled each other when Miller’s Salem University Tigers went up against Whitfield-Wallace’s Mount St. Mary University Mountaineers at the U.S. Naval Academy Open.
Miller and the Tigers got the better of Wallace-Whitfield and the Mountaineers, winning 18-16, at Lejeune Hall in Annapolis, Maryland. The two-day showcase was held on Saturday and Sunday and featured 12 teams.
Both Miller and Wallace-Whitfield both played four games each. Whitfield-Wallace and the Mountaineers finished with a 3-1 win/loss record. Miller and the Tigers split their four games.
“It was awkward having to go up against him,” Miller said. “We had to take a photo before the match because we did not know how we were going to feel after the match because someone was going to have to lose. It is a good feeling, win or lose, because we are both products of The Bahamas’ senior men’s national water polo team. Whitfield-Wallace always plays to the best of his abilities. Either of our success is going to contribute overall to The Bahamas’ water polo team.”
Wallace-Whitfield will look to get a win the next time these two teams play each other, set for September 18.
“It was a surreal experience, seeing my national teammate on the other side of the bench. Although they beat us, we get to play them again in two weeks for the actual conference game that matters for points,” Wallace-Whitfield said.
According to Miller, the main objective for the Tigers in this showcase was to work on the team’s chemistry. The Tigers took care of the Mt. San Antonio College Mounties, 19-15, then took down the Mountaineers, 18-16. They were unable to take down George Washington University as they were toppled, 23-6. In their last match against Johns Hopkins University, they lost a nail-biter, 18-17.
“We wanted to show that we were physically fit as we spent two weeks working on that. I feel that we played good. We ran one defense the entire game which is a press. It is hard to do for four consecutive quarters and we managed to get it done. The final two games did not go our way. It was not about wins or losses but what we can take away from the game and correct,” Miller said.
Wallace-Whitfield and the Mountaineers opened the showcase with a 13-12 overtime victory over Iona University. He scored a goal in that game. They then fell to Salem before bouncing back with a 13-11 win over Biola University. They ended the showcase with a 16-11 victory over Mt. San Antonio College.
“This weekend was a great start for our team, ending 3-1 and showing our improvement from last year,” Wallace-Whitfield said. “There is still a long season to go. We got a chance to see what we need to work or improve on. I think I played fine, there is always room for improvement playing at a high level like this but I am excited to enhance my abilities as we get deeper into the season.”
Miller is pursuing a master’s degree in healthcare management at Salem where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in May. He is playing with a right shoulder injury, on the defensive side of the ball.
“We have a talented team as usual. We all seem to be on the same page thus far. We just need to polish on a few of the tactics. I am always going to put my best food forward and play with heart. I will bring what I can to the team as I stay positive because as a Bahamian, I do not like to lose,” he said.
Wallace-Whitfield, a sophomore at Mount St. Mary studying economics, has some goals of his own for the year.
“My goals for this year are to contribute in any winning way to the team whether in or out of the water, earn an all-academic selection and to improve my physicals in the water – speed, strength,” Wallace-Whitfield said.
Both teams return to the pool September 17-18 at the Bucknell Invite at the Kinney Natatorum in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. They will play four matches including one against each other.