Up Close and Personal with Two Waterpolo NewcomersSanta Clara University's women's water polo team has taken great strides to build their program, consistently growing and becoming more competitive with time. New additions to the team, Katie Radvanyi and Catherine Flynn took time out of their busy schedules to give us a glimpse as to what it's like to be a athlete here on the Mission Campus. Combining both school and an intense practice schedule as these girls do may seem daunting to some, but Radvanyi and Flynn have it down to a science.
Q: How do you two like Santa Clara so far?
Katie: I love it, it was a really easy adjustment for me, especially having a whole water polo team to be your instant friends.
Catherine: It's awesome. I think the people here have been so welcoming, especially being a transfer student coming in when everyone else is settled down and you're kind of new to everything when everyone else has already figured it out.
Q: Katie, you're from Santa Cruz and Catherine, you're from Sacramento, do you find yourselves going home a lot because it's so close?
Katie: Definitely not during polo season. But on the weekends we have off I want to be here.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Santa Clara?
Katie: I like the size and the community feel. You see someone and you'll see them the next day or later that day and that's really nice. Everyone's so nice.
Catherine: I'd definitely have to say polo. I think it's nice coming in here and having a team and instant friends. Keith is an awesome coach. I just love playing water polo and I love that I can go to a school that I want to go to and play a sport that I absolutely love.
Q: Has the team been playing to set expectations?
Katie: We made a list of goals at the beginning of the season and we're accomplishing some of them slowly.
Catherine: Santa Clara women's water polo is such an up-and-coming sport and every year I think they're getting better and better so I think Keith has a lot of expectations this team. The majority of the team is freshman so that's really hard, plus a couple transfer students trying to combine talent and be a real team and slowly but surely we're getting there and I think we're doing an awesome job.
Q: Have you made any improvements or adjustments?
Katie: We've found out a lot of things that work for our team and things that don't with different personnel. Keith is able to see the changes and he helps us with that.
Q: Do you find it difficult to balance keeping up with schoolwork and playing a sport?
Catherine: I always felt that playing a sport has helped my schoolwork because since as young as I can remember I was playing a sport, whether it be basketball, soccer, water polo, swimming, anything. It's definitely a time management thing. When I'm not in season I feel myself kind of slacking, but when I'm in season I feel that I have to get my school work done because I have practice. Water polo is a huge focus for me and school is also, but it just helps me with time management.
Katie: I agree, when I have too much free time I tend to waste it more.
Katie: I think my parents have been to every game so far. Especially since most of our games are local.
Catherine: The games are so close my parents definitely come.
Q: Do you ever daydream about what it would be like to have all kinds of free time on your hands as opposed to being in the pool all the time?
Catherine: Just sleep. Not really though. I love polo. There's nothing in the world I'd rather be doing then playing water polo. I love playing it and I can't imagine being in school and not playing water polo. It's such a huge part of my life and something I enjoy so much that I gain so much out of life in general that I just think I'd rather be doing that then anything.
Q: Who's the funniest person on your team and why?
Catherine: I think I would have to say Amanda (Ginn) or Mele (Rehder).
Katie: We have so many different personalities on our team and people have little funny things about them.
Catherine: We all have our nicknames that describe us perfectly and they go with our quirks and funny stuff. I find everyone hilarious. It's like we're constantly laughing. It's hard sometimes to be serious in practice because everyone's just so funny that our personalities just combine so well and we just laugh so much all the time and get along so well.
Q: Are there any pre-game rituals?
Catherine: We have meetings before each game and get each other pumped up. We also have inspiration. We have a list and you sign up for it. Basically what it is, before every game you're supposed to say something to the team or give something to kind of inspire us. People have gotten Power Bars, Gatorade, and inspirational quotes. We basically do that before every game.
Q: What is your favorite water polo memory at Santa Clara so far?
Catherine: Rookie Night. Our whole team came together. The old players welcome the new players. It was by far the most fun I've ever had. We all had to dress up as foods. We had to get our costumes together. It was a fun night because you got to know everyone really well. It's just like everyone coming together and that will always be a night that you'll be like remember when. It was one of those things that brought us together.
Q: So are you both the types to stick to the rules when playing or is everything fair game when you're in the water?
Katie: I think one of the unspoken rules of water polo is the fact that what the ref can't see he can't call. I think that's universal among all high-level water polo players.
Catherine: There's definitely a difference between being a dirty player and being a good player. Water polo is basically an aggressive game, but there's a difference between having skill and having talent and being aggressive than just being plain dirty and I think that you need to incorporate skill and aggressiveness, because you don't want to be pushed around. You want to be a dominant player and you have to stick up for yourself. There are players in the water that don't care and they will punch, kick and hit, and you just have to deal with it. I think that's the best part of the game is the aggressiveness. That's why I play it. It's awesome, but there's definitely a difference between following the rules and playing dirty.
Q: What do you hope to do after graduation?
Katie: I want to go to Med. school and hopefully move back to the Bay Area.
Catherine: I want to go to law school, maybe here or somewhere in Sacramento.