In the Water with Ms. Brooke Fichera

In the scheme of Choate sports, Water Polo is one of the lesser understood by those on campus. But to those who know the sport, they’re well aware of the ferocity and difficulty of the game. This only makes the job of Ms. Brooke Fichera that much harder as head coach of both Boys’ and Girls’ water polo. As a result of her college water polo career at Bucknell, she brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to the team. Her positive and encouraging spirit has helped the team achieve success this season, and keeps the team striving for improvement.

Ms. Fichera came to Choate with many years of water polo coaching experience. She has coached since finishing her college career, and her love for the game has never faded. However, she has struggled to find a position where she gets to both teach and coach. When asked what brought her to Choate she said, “The opportunity to coach water polo and teach English, which I had never been able to find in the same school before.” While Choate has certainly challenged her to balance both at times, she’s happy to have the opportunity to do both. As a coach, she is thankful for the opportunity to provide students with “an outlet to learn important skills about getting along with people and about themselves in a venue that’s not the classroom.”

Despite graduating 14 key players, she has been optimistic about the Boys’ team this season. “It was definitely what people refer to as a ‘rebuilding year’, although I never went into it with the mindset that it was going to be a down year for us,” she said. The team’s record is 6-11, but this includes four losses by only one goal.

However, the Boys’ Varsity water polo team has improved tremendously since the start of the season. In regards to their development, Ms. Fichera commented, “If you look at our team now, it’s night and day compared to where we were at the beginning of the season.” While the team didn’t get the results it was hoping for at the end of the year, all but four players will return next season more experienced and passionate than this year.

When asked about key players this season, she was quick to mention co-captain Ben Zhao ’18 and Andrew Berzolla ’20. Ms. Fichera explained that both players have been steady contributors this year and extremely hard workers. She also added that Ben Zhao has really stepped up as a leader and has been a key offensive and defensive player.

The team finished the year with two losses to Suffield and Brunswick, but the boys have no reason to hang their heads. The team won against difficult opponents like Staples and Hotchkiss, while falling by only one goal to Loomis, Hopkins, and Canterbury. These are huge positives to take into next season, and Ms. Fichera is absolutely proud of her team’s efforts this fall.

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