Personal Column: Brooke Presten

Brooke Presten, Staff Writer

Commitment to a sport takes up much of my time and energy. In order to excel in a sport I have to be dedicated. This includes going to every practice, showing up on time, being responsible and putting my team first.

I started my water polo career at Diablo Water Polo, when I was in the fourth grade in 2006. I had no idea what I was getting myself into at the time, and little did I know that my life would revolve around this sport. I started with my friend Shannon Moran, who is now a freshman and a varsity water polo player at Miramonte. We met Courtney Fahey, who had started by herself three years before us, and is now a freshman and a Monte Vista varsity water polo player.

Together we accomplished great things at tournaments in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Michigan and Texas. As beginners, we didn’t know much about the sport, but we quickly learned from our coaches. We became starters on our team shortly after we joined.

We didn’t become starters just because we were some of the oldest girls on our team. We became starters because we were committed to becoming better competitors. Every practice we would attack each other, regardless of how close we were as friends. We played as hard as we could so we would become stronger. Our coaches took note of our efforts and rewarded us accordingly. We played more because they had faith in us, which gave us more experience.

After I decided to come to Campo and not Miramonte, I joined the Campo girls’ water polo team. I was terrified. I wouldn’t be with Shannon, Courtney, or any of my other friends. I knew no one at Campo except for the previous year’s water polo team. Thankfully, they welcomed me and I fit right in.

Over the summer I attended a preseason camp to condition us for the upcoming season, under our coach Kim Everist. I was introduced to new training methods, which made me want to kill myself. Regardless, I pushed myself on land and in the water. My schedule over the summer was brutal. I had to wake up at 4:30 every day and go to morning practice at Crow Canyon Country Club for two hours. Afterwards I would drive to Campo for conditioning. Every day after practice, I would come home to eat a jar of peanut butter and fall asleep.

I ended up making varsity. I tried during the first couple of varsity practices, but I knew I wasn’t giving it my best effort. For the first games of the season I was probably the third person subbed in off the bench. I didn’t like that very much. I decided to swim faster, shoot harder and play smarter. Eventually Everist saw what I could do and I began playing much more during the second half of the season.

If I didn’t love water polo I wouldn’t have tried to prove myself. I want to be better. My coaches and teammates have faith and me, which gives me confidence. My confidence allows me to shoot more, even if the majority of my shots don’t make it inside the cage. I know that the more I shoot, the more likely it is for at least one of my shots to make it inx. Being dedicated is what makes me a better player.