BY RACHEL SHARPE
Fighting to keep his head above the water, sophomore Brandon Bogumill swims swiftly toward the ball and raises his arm to take a shot at the goal, all while dodging the defense as they try their best to halt his efforts. The goal is in sight and Bogumill is singularly focused. It is this focus and determination that has driven Bogumill’s success in the pool for the Cooper City High School boys’ water polo team.
Bogumill fell in love with water polo as a child. He started practicing every day, with his club team, the South Florida Water Polo club, at Nova Southeastern University. In the summer, he would often spend hours a day practicing and improving his skills after being influenced by his athletic family.
“I started swimming from an early age because my dad and brother were swimmers,” Bogumill said. “When I was ten years old, my brother took me to my first water polo practice and I have been going ever since.”
Bogumill has continued to compete in numerous tournaments with his club team on a local, state and international level. His team even placed first at the United States International Tournament, competing against 15 other teams from countries around the world including Hungary, Germany, Puerto Rico and Italy. Bogumill’s greatest achievement, however, was qualifying for the Junior Olympics with his club team for two consecutive years.
“To qualify for the tournament, regional tournaments are first held,” Bogumill said. “My team won first place in the region last year and the year before. That qualified us to compete each of those years in the Junior Olympics.”
Two years ago, Bogumill’s team placed 4th in the nation in the 14-under bracket and last year his team placed 10th overall in the 16-under category.
In addition to his water polo commitment outside of school, Bogumill also makes time to play on the Cooper City High School varsity water polo team. Bogumill is a utility player, which means he is very versatile and can play several positions in the game. He is also a leading scorer and has led the CCHS water polo team to an undefeated season this year so far.
“Brandon is definitely an asset to the team,” junior Sam Culver said. “He is a great player and he controls the game, while also helping the new kids learn how to play correctly.”
Though Bogumill enjoys playing as part of the CCHS water polo team, he sometimes feels extra pressure to perform well because his dad is the coach. However, his dad could not be more proud of his son and his accomplishments.
“Brandon’s ability to put the team first and himself second is a personal trait that I admire,” Coach Gary Bogumill said.
Bogumill and his dad share a special bond and are incredibly close.
“My dad always pushes me to do my best,” Bogumill said. “He is always there for me and it feels good to know my parents are one hundred percent supportive of me.”
With all of his training and practicing for tournaments, however, Brandon must dedicate a large portion of his time to the sport, which sometimes means sacrificing time to do normal teenage activities. Though it is often difficult for Bogumill to give up the majority of his free time, he can’t see himself doing anything else.
“Water polo is pretty much my life,” Bogumill said. “Balancing water polo with school gets hard, especially when I have to take off school for a tournament, but it’s mostly a routine for me now. I go to school, do homework and go to water polo, so I try to balance it all. I also swim for the high school during swim season and during summer; I sometimes go to swim practice in the morning and water polo practice at night.”
Bogumill’s relentless dedication to the sport and his perseverance has led him to tremendous success and will only lead him to greater success in the future. Bogumill plans to continue to play water polo throughout the rest of high school. As for the more distant future, Bogumill hopes to play college water polo for the University of California in Los Angeles.
“I know Brandon can succeed at anything he sets his mind to,” Gary Bogumill said. “If he wants something bad enough he never gives up until he achieves his goal.”