Q: What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a benchwarmer?
A: One of my greatest strengths is probably throwing the counter ball to the goalie when the one in play gets thrown out of the pool. My fast reflexes and strong throwing arm make that job easy for me. Also, I have a very large game presence. My club coaches have always told me: lead from the bench. And that is what I do. I am the first to toss our starters their water bottles. I am also the first one off the bench when our varsity players need somewhere to sit. I would say swimming would be my greatest weakness.
Q: What obligations and responsibilities come along with being a benchwarmer?
A: I go to practice 6 days a week. I really am here to support my teammates in the water. I have to make sure they are hydrated and have a warm place to rest their butts during halftime.
Q: How do you sleep at night knowing you’ve cost the team countless games?
A: I really don’t sleep at night. The PTSD from those hard losses is seared into my mind. The only way I get out of bed is knowing that I can’t possibly do any worse than I did last season.
Q: On average, how much time will you spend on the bench per game this season?
A: Last season I was really disappointed because there was so much competition. I really had to work hard in order to gain that spot on the bench. Now, I have a year of bench-warming experience, which is sure to edge out the competition. Ideally, I will spend about 20 mins per game on the bench. The other 20 minutes I will probably have to sit on the ground; the benches are only so long.
Q: What is the physical impact of sitting on the bench for so long? Muscle cramps? Sore legs?
A: Sitting on the bench is more physically taxing than one might think. When I am on the bench for more than 10 minutes, I start to get muscle tightness and fatigue. Any more than 15 minutes on the bench, and sometimes my feet might start to fall asleep. As a bench warmer, I am constantly in the weight room working on squats and deadlifts. Sore legs are commonplace on the bench.
Q: I heard a rumor that the school was going to invest in heated benches. As the honorary benchwarmer, what are your thoughts on that?
A: Honestly, I am very nervous to hear that the school might invest in heated benches. These new benches would make my singular role as benchwarmer obsolete.