Athlete of the Month

Junior Tess van Hulsen, who started playing water polo only three years ago, scored 30 goals for the varsity water polo team over the course of 11 games in October. She scored seven goals in a thrashing of Lincoln High School and currently leads the team in goals scored. She helped the team rebound from a dismal 3-5 record in September to a 7-4 in October.

Tess van Hulsen: I’m Tess van Hulsen and I play water polo for Palo Alto High School. I play utility, which means I am comfortable playing two-meter, two-meter defense or attacker.

The Campanile: Tell us about your passion for water polo.

TVH: I’m very passionate about the sport, and it’s a great community. I’m passionate because it’s a great foundation, and we’re able to spread knowledge about water polo. Project 20/20 is a foundation that was created to help underprivileged girls.

TC: When did you start getting involved?

TVH: Two summers ago.

TC: How has it transformed your experience in the pool?

TVH: I think bettering myself in the water allows me to better the students and the girls I’m teaching, and it creates bonds that will last a lifetime.

TC: When did you realize that you were passionate about water polo?

TVH: Transitioning from swimming my entire life to playing water polo was something that really benefited me because that’s when I realized I wanted to play water polo. I didn’t want to swim back and forth for the rest of my life, and I think the friendships that I’ve created and the skills I’ve learned inside and outside the pool have really made a difference in my life. I don’t know where I would be without it.

TC: How did you find out about the sport?

TVH: I started in 8th grade with Stanford Water Polo Club. I was no longer happy with swimming, and I wanted to try something new.

TC: What are your future expectations for yourself and the team?

TVH: We’re entering leagues this week and we play Los Altos [High School] this Thursday who we just lost to by one goal last Thursday, so I’m excited to see the outcome of that game, and I’m optimistic we will win.

TC: What’s after that?

TVH: After that comes a winter season of training and then in the spring we will get ready for the summer season and Junior Olympics and all the summer tournaments we will participate in.

TC: Who are your heroes?

TVH: Brenda Via is the world’s best water polo player and I had the opportunity to play under her this summer. She’s been in all the Olympics for water polo and she is the head coach for Castilleja [School] right now and I got to have the opportunity to work with her this summer at the 16th national A team for Stanford Water Polo Club. She’s not only an amazing mentor and player, but she is also one of the most inspiring and down-to-earth people I know.

TC: What are your long-term goals for water polo?

TVH: I would love the opportunity to play in college because I can’t imagine my life without water polo and I think I’d be really empty without it.