Kamana’o Morton travels to New Zealand to further his water polo training

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Courtesy of Kamana'o Morton

Kamana’o [Kama] Morton 23′ taking a shot at goal at the Olympic Development Program in 2019.

Taro Tsuji, Staff Writer

Many students have noticed the absence of the towering sophomore Kamana’o [Kama] Morton. Morton is currently in New Zealand training to further improve his skills in the sport of water polo with stronger competition. 

Morton, has been one out of a few selected for: Olympic Development teams, national level camps and more. Morton was one of only 40 selected to go to the National Team Selection Camp (NTSC) in 2019. 

Morton at the start of the second semester decided to leave Mid-Pacific until at least next school year, to focus on water polo. 

He also was invited to play in the Junior Olympics representing Hawai’i and attended a training camp in the Colorado Springs Olympic training center. 

“At these camps, I learned so much about water polo from being coached by world-class water polo players and coaches. It really grew my knowledge of the sport which made my gameplay improve exponentially in that time,” said Morton.

In just a few months Morton has seen how different New Zealand is compared to his previous training in Hawaii. 

“The biggest difference from training in New Zealand compared to Hawaii is the facilities. At New Zealand I train at the national aquatic center and having access to two 50 meter pools is huge for my development as a Waterpolo player,” said Morton.

Before the sixth grade Morton had never played water polo but at Mid-Pacific he discovered the sport.   

“I only started playing water polo in the summer of 2016 with Mid-Pacific right before I started sixth grade. Mid-Pacific really grew me as a water polo player early on. I learned all the basics about the sport from the coaches there,” said Morton.

At Mid-Pacific, Morton had a role in the 2019-2020 water polo season as a freshman.

Kaz Yoshiwara, water polo and swimming coach said he is a believer that the sky’s the limit for where Mortan wants to go with the sport. 

“He could even potentially put himself into a position to play on a national-level team,” said Yoshiwara.

Yoshiwara said Morton brings natural skills to his team.

“He has the physical capabilities you can’t teach, his skill and what he’s able to do in the pool opens up stuff for other kids. There’s a lot of things you can’t teach to a player that he can just pick up on and do it naturally,” said Yoshiwara.

Water polo is a sport requiring the whole team to play as one. 

“Kama brings the team together and he always has a plan whether it’s driving into a set or creating new opportunities in a set,””

— Aiden Morris

Junior Kahikina Kukea-Shultz first hand saw how Morton trained in and out of the pool. 

“Kama is a big dude, he has super long arms and is a natural on the ball. Kama is always putting 110% effort into everything. His work effort is impressive in and out of the pool,” said Kukea-Shultz. 

Praise from teammates and coaches can only do so much to motivate a player, Morton breaks down what is pushing him to keep going. 

“My ultimate goal for water polo is to be able to look back and know I put as much effort as I could. I don’t want to look back and feel like I cut myself short of something I could’ve achieved if I put more effort in earlier on,” said Morton. 

Morton added, “I hope to have graduated from playing water polo at a Division I college and possibly eventually play professionally in Europe.”