Kean University freshman Reuben Hernandez, a Passaic resident, recently competed with team U.S.A. in the Under 21 (U21) European Underwater Rugby Championship in Sandefjord, Norway.
The team is the first U.S. national under 21 team to compete in the sport of underwater rugby.Hernandez, a computer science major, recently discovered underwater rugby and tried out for the national team after competing for just a few months.
“Immediately I fell in love with the sport and I picked it up quickly because of my swimming background,” said Hernandez. “It was an honor to be a part of the first U21 USA team.”
Team U.S.A. visited Norway from November 9 – 14. Although they were eliminated in the first round of competition, Reuben and his teammates said they took pride in doing their best.
“We didn’t make it easy for our rivals,” he said.
Hernandez said he enjoyed his visit to Norway and the camaraderie and sportsmanship among his teammates and their competitors. At the end of the tournament, all of the teams came together to talk and trade uniforms.
Hernandez will continue to train with his club team, Newark Underwater Recreations (NUWR), for future tournaments. He would like to start an underwater rugby team at Kean and hopes to introduce more young players to this amazing sport.