Astros’ Korey Lee credits water polo for boosting his catching career

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Korey Lee built his base while fighting to stay afloat. Water polo provides its players two options: Tread or die trying. The sport is a dizzying blend of basketball, wrestling and swimming with one primary rule in the pool: Don’t touch the bottom.

“You have to survive,” Lee said. “You’re either going to drown or float. You have to figure out how to float if you have a guy on top of you if you don’t want to die. It’s grueling. You’re catching elbows in the face. You’re catching elbows in the ribs. Stuff underneath the water, no one really talks about it. That’s what gets you beat up a lot. ”

Baseball has long been Lee’s first love. Consider water polo his high school flame. Lee starred for three seasons as a center defender at Vista (Calif.) High School. He didn’t give water polo near the dedication baseball received, but the foundation he established because of it is apparent. In an era obsessed with sports specialization, Lee is living proof of the benefits a second sport provides.

“You don’t even know what muscles you have until you get into the pool and you start working against another man, throwing a ball, treading water and everything,” Lee said. “I think that got my foundation as, like, a 12-year-old into 14. That’s the biggest growing phase as a kid. I think that changed my whole body. ”

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