Chehalem Water Polo Club doing its dry-land training at local alternative gym

With lineups that are smaller than many of their opponents, Chehalem Water Polo Club coach Jake Kinne knew the boys and girls teams had to get stronger this summer.

That’s why Kinne turned to Doug and Abby Hildreth at Newberg Crossfit, who have been training a group of 18 players three times a week for the past six weeks in preparation for this weekend’s Junior Olympics in California.

Kinne had heard about another club that had tried Crossfit for their dry-land training and liked the results, so he figured why not give it a try?by: SETH GORDON - Beast mode - Senior goalie Kyle Hansen squats 245 pounds Monday during the Chehalem water polo team's dry-land workout at Newberg Crossfit.

Hildreth said he was thrilled to get opportunity to team up with a local athletic program.

“It’s been really great for us,” Hildreth said. “We’ve always wanted to be involved with the high school, especially in an athletic capacity with the different teams and programs that are there. I played sports in high school and this just wasn’t available to us.”

Hildreth said he was an average athlete in high school but has always felt that if given the chance to work with a group of students, Crossfit could produce great results.

The first challenge was tailoring a workout regimen that would translate into results in the pool.

“They swim so much that for us it was about how could we make these kids stronger and faster,” Doug Hildreth said. “Their coach said that when they played the bigger teams they get beat up on. So my wife and I got our heads together and put them on a strength-squat cycle. It’s been really great.”

Hildreth said there was a pretty steep learning curve because many of the players had ever squatted before and doing so is the major component of their workouts on Mondays and Fridays.

But after six weeks, he said most look like they’ve been doing it their whole lives.

“A group of kids that are willing to come in during the offseason and train are probably the easiest clients in the world to have because they’re so motivated,” he said. “That makes it really fun when you’re a trainer and you’re working with people who want to be trained. They want to learn, the want to work hard and they like to work hard.”

Senior goalie Kyle Hansen said he was skeptical of Crossfit at first, but enjoys the workout environment.

“I think what really helps as a team is that when we’re squatting we’re doing it with partners,” Hansen said. “We’re just constantly encouraging each other also and I think that’s what helps.”

After focusing on lifting for most of their sessions, the workouts finish out with a metabolic conditioning or “metcon” session, which involves a rapid series of lifts with low weights along with the kind of functional movements that Crossfit is known for, like burpees (down-ups in the old parlance) or box jumps.

On Monday, the last workout for the boys before they head down to California this weekend, Abby Hildreth tried something new and set up an intra-team competition for the metcon portion of the workout.

The group was split into two teams of seven, which raced against each other to collectively complete 100 dead lifts, 100 burpees and 100 box jumps. The catch was that each team member had to do at least 10 reps of each exercise and only one member per team could perform at a time.

What ensued was a frantic and energetic competition that everyone seemed to enjoy.

“I think it’s doing good for us,” recent NHS graduate Spencer McMaster said. “It’s been nice working with them. They’ve been very good to us.”

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