By John Philip Wyllie
Spending most of her summers in the warm waters off Los Barriles, B.C. has given Eastlake High’s Laura Barrick the opportunity to both improve her swimming and get in touch with her Mexican heritage. While her Spanish remains less than perfect, her maternal grandparents would be proud to see how far she has come speaking and understanding their native language. The summers spent south of the border have also improved her swimming to the point that the senior goaltender now serves as one of the captains on the Eastlake Titans Water Polo Team.
“Laura has been our starting varsity goalkeeper for the last three years,” says her proud father and coach, Chris Bar-rick. “She has improved every year to the point where she is now a good varsity goaltender. She brings a lot of leadership to the pool and she has really improved by going to camps, learning and playing club water polo in the off season.”
Playing water polo is a Barrick family tradition. Laura’s dad, Chris was an All-CIF water polo player in high school and his daughter has inherited his love for the sport.
“I really didn’t want to go out for Eastlake’s team at first, but after I did I found that I really liked it. I also swim, but I only do that to stay in shape for water polo.”
Barrick plays an essential role for the Titans manning the nets and directing the defense.
“As the goalie, you are kind of like a quarterback. You have to know where all of your field players should be. You can see more of the pool from that (vantage point) so that makes it easier to have everyone aligned properly. Having quick reflexes is important (for any goaltender), but you also have to make sure that everyone is positioned well. That makes it a lot easier to block the ball.”
Barrick has seen her team improve during her tenure and she has faith that this team will be one of Eastlake’s best.
“We had a few players graduate last year, but we are so much better this year. Playing summer league together has really helped. Our defense is wonderful. We just need to improve a little bit on offense.”
Barrick practically lives in swimming pools all year long.
“I play water polo all summer, but in the (early) fall there is a little bit of an off-season so I work. Then water polo starts up again and it continues through the fall and winter into the spring. As water polo ends swimming begins.”
Following the long hours of training in the pool, Barrick summons her strength and focuses her attention on her studies. With a G.P.A just a shade below 3.8 Barrick will be a good candidate to attend one of the many highly regarded colleges. Two that will get strong consideration are USC and Pepperdine.
“It is almost impossible to get a college water polo scholarship, but if one of the college coaches talked to me I would love to continue playing.”
Whether she does or not, Barrick has enjoyed the experience and is glad that she was given this opportunity.
“Playing water polo I just forget about everything. I am so focused in the water. I enjoy the hard work involved and always feel better about myself when I know I have worked hard in practice or won a game.”