Grace Arnold

Do you still play water polo? If so, for what team and where?
I’ll be a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania this coming year (I took a gap year between high school and college and studied in China, so I’m a year behind the people I graduated with), and play for the club team there. It’s the perfect balance for me, because it’s definitely a “real” team environment with practices and tournaments, but not nearly as much travel and time commitment as a varsity team would be (Penn doesn’t have a varsity water polo team anyway)
What is your favorite part about water polo?

I love the feeling of getting to leave everything in the pool- to chase down a girl when countering on defense or spin around her while guarding and feel myself working as hard as I possibly can. It’s such a satisfying feeling! Also, there’s nothing like being part of a team, and I love building those friendships and the trust that’s necessary to work together in the pool.

What is one of your favorite memories about playing for Stanford? Who was your main rival team when you played for Stanford?
Especially later in high school, I loved going to big tournaments with girls that I knew well and trusted, and feeling like we “clicked” together in the pool- that our plays worked and we knew each other’s strengths in the water. And hmm…maybe 680? I can’t totally remember exact names, but always remember thinking the SoCal teams were just impossibly good 🙂

Is there any advice you would give Stanford players now?
The biggest thing I’d say (and one of the biggest lessons I learned in my years playing) is that if you’re not good, if you feel like you’re the weakest link or not fast enough or just can’t keep up, DON’T give up! I can’t tell you how many times I just felt like I was the worst one on the team, or made a mistake in practice, and was tempted to stop playing, because it felt like I wasn’t getting any better. However, little by little, I saw myself learn and grow as a player and person- I figured out I was a good defender, that I am a good communicator in the pool, that I can help lead a team, and finally all those years of work came together into something infinitely more satisfying than if it had come easily to me!

Was there any advice that your coach(s) gave you when you were playing that was particularly meaningful?
Kind of echoing what I said above, the biggest thing I remember my coaches giving me was encouragement- they helped me find my strengths, improve on my weaknesses, and gave me opportunities to be a leader.

What kind of things do you like to do in your free time?
My other big activities at Penn are involvement in a sorority and a Christian fellowship, but I’m also really enjoying working with the kids at my camp this summer, hiking, and biking in the mountains!

Will you be attending the Stanford club reunion June 26-27?
Unfortunately I’ll be in Colorado until August- but sounds like an awesome event! I wish I could be there.