Wesley "Wes" Kading, an American born Water Polo athlete, moved to the Water Polo mecca of Hungary at the age of 15. He trained at the Alfréd Hajós Aquatics Center where the current 15th European Maccabi Games water polo and swimming competitions are being held. Wes describes being selected for the Open Water Polo Team as a homecoming, representing Maccabi USA in Hungary, at the pool where he excelled as a young athlete.
"Getting ready for the games, we really focused on our game and conditioning. We found out who our team was, we connected, set up practices to work together, we sent each other workouts to keep each other motivated and inspired since we’re all not in one place."
"We take it pretty seriously, we are very organized, and dedicated. It’s a lot of time for us to take off, be here and represent the USA. It is a huge honor and ultimately when we get here, it exceeds every expectation. From being able to work out together, be a part of a Jewish community, and have the opportunity to not only represent the United States but to be surrounded by Jewish athletes all over the world - the feeling is incredible."
"I was fortunate to grow up here, in Budapest, and the opportunity to come back here, is very nostalgic for me and warms my heart. My host family cheered me on in the stands during one of my competitions; it was very special for me to have them there. Some of the best water polo players in the world grew up playing in the Alfréd Hajós National Swimming pool, which is probably one the most famous pools in the world. To have the opportunity to compete here is unbelievable. I will cherish these memories forever."
"For now, I am basking in the Budapest glory. I hope to compete again at the 2021 Maccabiah Games. Being part of the global Maccabi Movement is something that will always be part of my life, in and out of competition. It’s tough, some of us play together with the Olympic team from January-May so this is kind of the end of our season. With that in mind, we will take a break for a couple of months and then get right back into it."
-Wesley Kading, Open Water Polo and Swimming Athlete, 2x Maccabi USA Alum