In soon concluding her scholastic career in the water, senior Olivia Martinet can definitely say it has been worth the time and effort.
Martinet, whose later father was a Pacific Beach resident and played men’s water polo at Mesa College, is one of several key members of this year’s Bucs squad.
Along with fellow senior Kiley Knight, junior Izanna Hypse, and sophomore goalie Callie McClain, Martinet has been a driving force for Mission Bay.
“Olivia is a joy to have on the team,” said head coach John Knight. “She is a very hard worker and never misses practice. She scores goals every game and does a great job playing defense on the set.”
Beach & Bay Press caught up with Martinet for an interview before the Bucs lost in their playoff meeting with the Pointers on Feb. 19.
Beach & Bay Press - How did you get interested in water polo?
Olivia Martinet - Well I’ve pretty much been a swimmer my whole life thanks to my dad, who was so eager to get me in the water at such a young age. I have always loved the water and was always intrigued by a sport with a ball. One day my dad decided he wanted to take me to watch a game when I was around 8 years old. I had never seen a water polo game before and after watching I was immediately interested and wanted to give it a try. My dad signed me up for club and I fell in love with the sport and have been playing ever since.
BBP: What has the experience been like for you playing at MBHS and under coach Knight?
Martinet - Coach John has been my coach the past three years and I can honestly say there has been such an improvement in the aquatics program at Mission Bay since he has taken over. I have known coach Knight my whole life and it has been so awesome to be coached by him because he is someone I am close with, and he was one of my dad’s best friends. He is so passionate about this sport and especially coaching it and has done so much to help me become a great player. I have had such an amazing experience these past three years with him as my coach I feel like I have grown and learned so much as a water polo player as well as a team player.
BBP - How much of an influence did your family have on you both in water polo and life in general?
Martinet - My family has had such a huge influence on me in water polo as well as my whole life. I think my dad had planned for me to play polo before I was even born; he is the whole reason that I got so into it in the first place. My dad played water polo in high school and college, and when I started playing, it became something really special that we got to do together and bond over. I think that made me love the sport even more. My family has always been so supportive of me and my career in this sport and done so much to help me pursue it, especially my mom who has always been so involved and no matter what been to all of my games to cheer me on. Playing this sport makes me so happy because I know how much it meant to my dad that I played, and I know he would be so excited to see how far I have come in this sport.
BBP - What has been special about playing with these girls on the team the last few years?
Martinet - What has been so special about playing with these girls the past few years is that I have had such a great experience with all of them. We have all gotten so much closer each year and grown so much as a team. I have never been on a team like this one. We all push each other and motivate one another to be better and enjoy the sport. This year especially has been so great, because it is my senior year and we have all come so far and improved so much. I’m excited because we made the CIF playoffs this year and it was the first time I played in CIF since I’ve been at Mission Bay. This group of girls is all so talented and motivated and I can’t wait to hear of all the great things they do next year when I’m gone.
BBP - Are you planning on college and even playing water polo at that level?
Martinet - As of now my plan is to go to college next year, but I’m not quite sure where yet. Playing water polo in college is not in my plans as of right now but is something that I am definitely interested and open to. I guess I will see what happens. I definitely want to continue playing this sport because I enjoy it so much. Maybe I will play for a school’s club team. I have really enjoyed being a leader for my team and I would maybe even like to coach someday.
BBP - For any young girls in the Mission Bay area interested in water polo, what advice would you have for them in coming out for team tryouts next season?
Martinet - For any girls who think they might be interested in playing polo, my advice to them would be to definitely try it out, and to not be discouraged by the difficulty of it at first or the things they have heard about the sport. Water polo is not an easy sport but it is such a fun and exciting game. You might get beat up a little but in the end you have so much fun and fall in love with the sport.
For Martinet, her dad would in fact be quite proud of what she has done in and out of the water.
Editor’s note: If you know of a current Mission Bay High athlete who would make a good feature story, contact Dave Thomas at email@example.com.