The last time Bahamian collegiate water polo player Saequan Miller was in action was in November 2019. This past weekend, that drought ended as he played three games over the weekend for his Salem University Tigers in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II action.
The Tigers lost all three games but Miller, who was happy to be back playing the sport he loves, was able to come away with five goals and two steals.
He scored one goal on Friday in an 18-10 loss to Mount Saint Mary’s University Mountaineers. On Saturday afternoon, he scored two goals in a 15-7 loss to the Gannon University Golden Knights. Miller went on to score his remaining two goals against Mercyhurst University Lakers in a 20-7 loss Saturday evening.
“For all three games, I noticed the lack of chemistry and stagnant performance,” Miller said. “The endurance level of my teammates and myself is not where it needs to be. The flow of the games did not work in our favor. We used it to the best of our abilities, and everyone gave their best until the end. The result that came was only a test result for us to have a game plan and to go back in the pool and work on it.”
Miller returned to school in January and was only able to participate in five practices. This is due to him playing during the COVID-19 pandemic that saw him play under the “new norm” for sports.
“Coming back in January and having to quarantine on arrival for five days resulted in me missing practices. I also had to do some medical stuff with the trainers before getting back in the pool, so that also took time. It was also a bit weird because we also took three COVID-19 tests each week and it is a lot for one’s nose. It also messes with us mentally because if a person on the team gets infected, we would all have to quarantine for two weeks and having to receive food through our doors. We had to stay in our rooms and missed practices. It just was not good for athletes,” Miller said.
In those three games, his head coach, Robert Bullion, was not available for in-person instructions for these three games due to coming in close contact with a COVID-19-positive case. Bullion coached virtually during timeouts and at the intermission. He texted game plans to a medical staff who was at the game.
In addition to playing without a physical coach, the Tigers were also shorthanded in the water. Playing shorthand helped their endurance according to Miller.
“Although we were shorthanded, I still felt like it helped us because we all built our endurance level,” Miller said. “We do not normally play a water polo game missing a player or not getting a substitute. Playing four quarters is not ideal. We are normally able to rotate players and regroup. We were not able to do that but, in our benefit, it helped each player that played to have a better endurance level for the next game.”
Although the human resources management major is back on campus, he is still doing classes online in the dorms. The online classes is something that he has gotten used to.
Miller was home during the heart of the pandemic. He said he even picked up a skill he didn’t know he had – baking. His cake business became bigger than he thought it would have been, which was tough for him to leave behind as he returned to school. He was also a personal trainer and also helped out the junior national water polo team with coach Laszlo “Coach Lotty” Borbely.
This weekend is championship weekend for Salem. According to Miller, he wanted to get in at least three games, which they did and will use as a gauge for this weekend. They are ready to play any seed and put their best foot forward.