Master’s student Jasper Mulder with a waterpolo ball
(Photo: Heather Montague)

Who are the people who study or work at TU Delft? We meet them in Humans of TU Delft. This time: Jasper Mulder prepares to compete against the top European university teams.

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Having played water polo since he was a boy, it was no surprise that Jasper Mulder joined DSZ WAVE when he came to TU Delft. After finishing first at the Dutch university tournament, he and the TU Delft men’s water polo team are preparing to compete at the European level.

“This is my fifth year at TU Delft. I’m currently doing a master’s in Applied Mathematics, but before that I did a double bachelor’s in Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. Since I can remember, from about the age of seven or eight, I have played water polo. A lot of villages have a water polo association, but it isn’t such a big sport in the Netherlands, especially when you compare it to other countries like Hungary or Croatia. For them, water polo is popular like football is for the Netherlands.

I wanted to continue playing water polo when I came to TU Delft because my home village is too far away to continue playing there. Before I even arrived in Delft, I got in touch with DSZ WAVE, the student association for swimming, water polo and triathlon. Our association is 33 years old now and there are something like 300 members. For all my five years at TU Delft, I have been a member of the student water polo team and I also did a board year for DSZ WAVE.

We have three water polo competition teams in our association, two gent’s teams and one women’s team. These teams play against regional teams and we also have a beginner’s team that plays against other universities. Every year there is a national university competition for every sport here in the Netherlands called the GNSK (Groot Nederlands Studenten Kampioenschap). The best team from each university goes to that tournament and last year we won. For us it is quite special because this is the first time that I know of that TU Delft has won this tournament. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.

Every sport that participates in these national events has the possibility to go to its European version. As the best university water polo team in the Netherlands, we are invited to go to the competition in Hungary that starts on 13 July and lasts roughly 10 days. We don’t know yet how many teams will be participating because the signups are still open.

We’re looking for sponsors to finance the trip to Hungary

After we won the tournament, our main priority was finding a way to train until the summer holiday. X normally pays the fees for our training at the Kerkpolder pool here in Delft, but that usually stops once the competition season ends in April. We went to them and they agreed to pay the fees until the trip so that’s really nice to be able to continue training. Obviously, we wouldn’t want to go if we couldn’t be fit. We always train quite hard. Our gent’s team has three practices a week in the water and we also play a match almost every week. We expect the level of competition in Hungary to be a bit higher so some people are training more often just to get in better shape before we go. Most of the guys on our team have been playing for a long time. We also have some international players that competed at a high level during their youth so that’s also nice for the team.

I think DSZ WAVE is a really fun and open association. Every year we get a lot of new people who are interested in learning the sport so we also have a beginner’s team. That’s really nice to see because everyone can try a new sport. Of course, we also want to find good, experienced water polo players but most of them find us anyway. Most people find water polo really tough because you need to be in good condition; you need to be really fit. There is a lot of swimming, a lot of individual fighting and during this physical play you also need to incorporate your tactics.

We’re still looking for sponsors to finance the trip that we are going to make to Hungary. We started a crowdfunding campaign, and we are also working on sponsor packages for companies. We  came up with an idea to offer a company outing where we organise a beginners practice for a business and their people and then we can have drinks afterwards. If anyone is interested in trying a sport with us or would like to sponsor us, they can just send an email.”

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