Q & A: Kayak Polo’s Rachel Lamb

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    Q. How did you first get into kayak polo?A. I got into it because of my dad. I started kayaking when I was 8 years old. I started playing kayak polo when I was about 10, when parents got together and wanted to start the sport with their kids in the Dallas area.

    Q. What are the basic rules of kayak polo?

    A. It’s very similar to water polo, but with a smaller goal raised off the water. You can hold the ball in your hands or balance it on the paddle, and you are not allowed to move while holding the ball. There are a lot of different skills involved in it. Most people have kayak skills not ball handling skills; the more you practice the better you will become. Most women start off as kayakers and become better ball handlers.

    Q. What is the difference between kayak polo and canoe polo?

    A. Canoe polo is the international name for the sport.

    Q. How much of a global phenomenon is the sport?

    A. It is very big in Europe. China and the U.S. are catching up. The women’s team finished 17th in the world competition in Amsterdam, and men’s and boy’s teams were last.

    Q. How much time do you spend practicing?

    A. Over the summer, I practiced an hour a day. I practice on weekends during the year in two or three-hour blocks.

    Q. For that matter, where do you practice?

    A. You can practice paddling and ball skills anywhere with a body of water. An Olympic-size pool is ideal for competition, but it is often played in a lake or a very still river.

    Q. What position do you play?

    A. I am the women’s team goalie. Men are sometimes better at it, because they sit higher above the water in their kayak’s.

    Q. Outside of training with the national team, what are some of your hobbies?

    A. I play the harp. It is the largest still-portable instrument that I know of.