August 18, 2008: Underwater polo? Thanks! The first week I was in Beijing before the Olympics started, I visited the Yingdong Natatorium to check out water polo practice. Unfortunately at that time nothing was going on. I decided to wander around the venue anyways and ended up at the underwater window below the pool. I told myself that I had to come back and shoot a match from that vantage point. On Monday, between a men's beach volleyball game in the morning and a women's soccer game at night, I had a big chunk of unscheduled time. I checked out the schedule and saw a USA/Germany men's water polo match going on at 2pm. I decided to go. When I got to the Yingdong (love that name), I inquired about shooting from the underwater photo position. No one had signed up yet so I filled out the necessary paper work and a photo helper led me down. The first thing I noticed was that if the action was more than 10 feet away, it got really hard to get a clear image. I also noticed a yellow and red sideline marker bordering the field of play. My plan was to shoot with a wide angle lens at anything that came near me incorporating the line marker whenever possible.
Tribune photo by Scott Strazzante