A senior co-captain, Cassidy scored 39 goals in the Malvern Prep water polo team’s first seven games this fall, and has drawn 28 ejections. He has received All-Inter-Ac honors in both water polo and swimming. Last fall, he scored 80 goals for the rebuilding Friars’ water polo squad. Last winter, he was an All-American swimmer, a key part of Malvern Prep’s All-American and school record-setting 200 medley relay team. Outside of the pool at Malvern Prep, Cassidy is a MECO leader, a Eucharistic minister, and a member of the Science National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society.
Q: What do you think was the biggest key to your prolific goal scoring?
A: One of the big things that I have tried to work on this year was my accuracy when it comes to shooting. In years past, I have taken a lot of shots I shouldn’t have, and I really wanted to work on my consistency. Throughout the off-season, I played a lot of club games to try to make me a better scorer because I traditionally had played a very one-dimensional game. Also, a big part of my success this year has been the way the team has stepped up this year. Other guys have been able to draw defenders to them, which has opened up a lot more scoring opportunities for me.
Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
A: I think the strongest part of my game is the way that I am always moving on offense. I try to move around a lot on the perimeter to keep defenders off balance and then I make a quick move to make them panic, and often times I am able to draw a foul. When I play 2-meter offense, I try to constantly move to gain position, no matter where the ball is, which has opened my game up because it allows me to put myself in a position to score more frequently.
Q: What area of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: What I am really trying to work on is keeping my teammates involved in the offense because in years past there have been great players who came through Malvern and we tried to force the ball to them more than we should have. The more I can get the ball to them, the more time it gives me to help set up our offense and run it the way we like to.
Q: What sparked your initial interest in water polo? What position do you play, and what attracted you to that position?
A: I became interested in water polo because of my older cousin, Chris Cary, was playing the year before I came to Malvern. I had a swimming background and I thought I could have fun playing water polo so I decided to join the team. I currently play 2-meter offense but I sometimes find myself on the perimeter depending on who we are playing and who we are trying to defend heavily. I became interested in 2-meter offense kind of by chance. Last year Brennan Robinson was a really good 2-meter defender, so it allowed me to play 2-meter offense, where I could push counters to try to score quickly.
Q: You’ve drawn 28 ejections in 7 games – what has been the key to your success in this area?
A: I have always been a smaller guy when it comes to playing water polo so I knew I needed to find a way to gain any advantages that I could. The key for me is if I can find a mismatch I try to make an offensive move quickly, before a switch is called so I can try to draw a kick out and we can run our man-up plays. I remember a few years ago when we had a really strong senior class they always found ways to get me kicked out in practice and I never wanted to the guy on the receiving end so I practiced finding ways to get other people in vulnerable positions.
Q: Who have been your biggest water polo mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you?
A: Isaac Salinas helped me tremendously with developing my game. He always was beating up on me in practice and that helped me more than I thought. All of the little things he would do to me in practice I slowly figured out and it helped me become a better player. The one thing he helped me with the most was my confidence when playing the game. He told me to not worry if I miss a shot or made a bad play, to move on and make up for it in another way. Another big mentor for me was my old swim coach Scott Elliott. He was the one who encouraged me to play water polo as long as I could and he always wanted to know how I was playing and how the team was doing. He taught me that it didn’t matter what anybody else thought, the important thing is that I do what makes me happy and that anybody else’s opinion didn’t matter.
Q: How do you see your role as co-captain of the Malvern Prep water polo team? How do you feel you can best display your leadership?
A: Being captain is an honor and I try and lead by example. I want to help the younger players become better so that the tradition of Malvern water polo’s success continues for years to come. Every practice I try and keep it lighthearted and fun by joking around while also playing hard and being someone for other people to turn to for guidance or just being there for anybody if they need someone to talk to.
Q: Briefly describe for us your pre-game preparation (physical, mental) on the day of a game.
A: Before games, I still walk in with butterflies in my stomach. Prior to every game I always walk onto the pool deck first, wave to Mr. [coach Jay] Schiller and then go get changed. It’s silly but it’s something I’ve always done and never really thought about it. Then I try and calm my nerves by taking some deep breaths and then I remind myself that it’s just a game and tomorrow is a new day no matter the outcome.
Q: What is your favorite course at Malvern Prep? What would you like to major in at college?
A: My favorite course is anything related to the sciences. I have grown to love those classes in large part because I have had teachers who really pushed me to get the grades I wanted. I would have never guessed four years ago I would have such a love for the sciences but it’s something that has developed over time. I would like to study mechanical engineering in college with the hopes to one day work in the medical industry.
Fun facts – Jack Cassidy
Favorite book: The Great Gatsby.
Favorite author: Jeannette Walls.
Favorite TV show: The Office.
Favorite movie: Step-Brothers.
Favorite athlete: Bryce Harper.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Hurricane by Luke Combs.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite place to visit: Sea Isle City, N.J.
Favorite pre-game meal: Cheez-its.
The person I most admire, and why: “My Dad, who taught me to have a strong work ethic and to not quit on anything until the job is done to the best of my ability.”
Family members: parents Dan and Michelle, brother Danny and sister Megan.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)
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