Although now committed to Occidental College and one of ETHS’ strongest players, when senior Averylin Cummins first tried water polo, she hated everything about the sport.
“I’ve always just loved being in the water and spending time in the water, and that was a comfort space for me. So I had a couple of friends who said, ‘Hey, you should really try out water polo.’ And, actually, this is kind of a funny story—I tried out water polo in eighth grade, and I said, ‘I hate this. I never want to do it again.’ And I quit,” Cummins explains. “Then, going into freshman year, my now-club coach said, ‘You should really try this again. I think you would really enjoy this.’ And I came back, and I was hooked.”
Later, during her seasons with ETHS, Cummins was able to harness her skills and find valuable friends in her teammates.
“The team has really good collective energy. Every year that I’ve been on the team, it’s a really tight-knit, unified group of girls, no matter what level you’re playing at. Everyone’s really supportive of each other,” Cummins elaborates. “And, so, I think that team spirit and mentality is so important. The team has really grown just in terms of skill a lot over the time that I’ve been here. It’s been really exciting to watch the evolution of the team and have all of these really exciting moments happen.”
However, Cummins’ success hasn’t come without its challenges. Throughout the college recruitment process, Cummins faced periods of self-doubt—a mentality she ultimately overcame.
“I was really working mentally towards a place throughout my time at high school where I just have more confidence in myself. So there was a point where I was like, ‘Well, I might not be good enough to play water polo in college,’ or, ‘I don’t think I have good enough grades to get into the school,’” Cummins reflects. “And I think it was a real challenge to say, ‘No, I can put in the work, and I’m willing to put in the work to do this and to get to this point, and if I do, then I have a really good chance at doing the things that I want to do.’ And so that’s definitely been just something that I’ve been working towards and will continue to be working on.”
As Cummins continues to develop her flair, both as an athlete and person, one thing is clear: her future opponents better watch out.