There is more than meets the eye with water polo goalie Katie Margot.
The senior continuously has to explain what water polo is to people, but she doesn’t mind. She likes teaching people the mystery of her sport.
Margot started playing water polo nine years ago after seeing her older brother play. She was a swimmer for years but knew that swimming was not her passion. She thought she’d give the sport a shot and follow in her brothers footsteps.
Growing up playing goalie was a position that others would rotate in and out of. “No one wants to be the goalie,” said the senior. However, when Margot got placed at the goal, she found the position she was destined to play.
“I like being able to see everything and be more strategic, rather than having to react to what people do,” said Margot.
As goalie, she serves as quarterback in the pool. She is the eyes, the ears and the mouthpiece for the team—she is the playmaker.
Margot gets a view of the entire pool, an advantage only the goalie has, and can view everything that is happening on offense and defense.
“I get to have a more mental game, and can be more directive in terms of helping my teammates see things that I know they can’t,” Margot said.
Margot believes that one her biggest challenges as a player has been balancing the task of directing the defense and focusing on blocking the ball.
Balancing the mental game and being vocal is much harder than it sounds. Sophomore goalie Erica Marquez admits that she has been working on it for years and still has trouble being vocal.
“As soon as I’m talking, I can’t save the ball. Katie [Margot] is naturally good at it,” Marquez said. “She is a key player in that aspect. When people are lost in their transitions and are being challenged, [Margot] is very good at maneuvering people in a very constructive way.”
There has been nothing but healthy competition between the two goalies. They have grown very close practicing together, apart from the rest of the team.
“Katie and I are sisters. We’re best friends in the pool. We train together side by side, and we feed off each other,“ Marquez said.
When Margot first joined the Azusa Pacific’s water polo team, her confident persona intimidated the rest of the women.
“All my teammates have told me that I was super intimidating when I first came in,” Margot said.
Marquez felt the same when she joined the team two years ago. “I was nervous to see who I was working with, especially meeting [Margot]… but she ended up being on of the sweetest people ever; she will do anything for you,” Marquez said.
During their training together, Margot has learned from Marquez’s signature swim out technique and Marquez has watched Margot to see how she blocks high shots jumping out of the water with her incredible reach.
Margot owns the program record at APU with a total of 745 career saves and counting
“To be honest I do not follow career records all that well…but I love watching her block 5M penalty shots,” head coach Julie Snodgrass said.
As team captain for the past two years, it has been Margot’s responsibility to bridge the gap between the team and Snodgrass.
“Katie has always had an intense persona, high standards and expectations. She expects results and not excuses in the pool, “ Snodgrass said.
Margot knows how to be a leader. Respect and communication are her top two most important qualities that she brings to the game.
“I feel like I fit in as captain,“ Margot said. “I’m not here to tell people what to do, everyone knows what to do. It’s more about bringing the girls together, and being able to clarify and deliver a message that the girls will be receptive to.”
Out of her nine-year career in the game of water polo, Margot has been captain for six years.
This season is the end of Margot’s career in water polo. The 15-20 hours a week of working in the pool will be over for the graduating senior.
“Last year I realized that I only have another year of water polo…it was a shock but I definitely think I am ready,” Margot said.
The Cougars will play their last regular season game on April 21 at Cal Baptist, followed by the Golden Coast Conference Championships in San Diego from April 29 through May 1. They are 10-19 on the season.