For the Love of the Game

By: Michelle Morico

“I pee in almost every pool I swim in,” said Molly Mihalcik, Marist junior. “You can write that in the article, I do not even care.”

Mihalcik coming out as a debutante.

Mihalcik coming out as a debutante.

Mihalcik is a Marist Division I water polo player. “Her sense of humor and wittiness gets us all through practice,” Kristen Powers, Marist senior and fellow teammate, said. Mihalcik is blunt and honest, but also manages to be very courteous and considerate of others. She credits this to her months of debutante training.

Mihalcik in her roster photo.

Mihalcik in her roster photo.

“I started playing [water polo] in fifth grade because I injured my rotator cuff and I could no longer swim at the level I wanted to swim at,” Mihalcik said. “I’ve loved the game since.”

Mihalcik went to boarding school at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and was the captain of her water polo team from sophomore until senior year.

“I went to boarding school because I was playing two different sports on opposite ends of New York City and boarding school was somewhere I could do both competitively and conveniently in one spot,” she said.

Mihalcik also studied abroad in London where she continued to play water polo at a competitive level.

“I played for three colleges, in two different leagues,” Mihalcik said. “Kings College, Imperial College and Bath Uni., I played in a Premier League and a Uni. League,” she said. “I wanted to see how the level of competitiveness compared to Division I in the United States and I also wanted to stay in shape.” She wants to continue playing water polo after she graduates from Marist College as well.

“The team I would like to play for is the New York Athletic Club, it consists of players who played only in prep school, Division I players and Olympic players,” Mihalcik said.

Often women’s water polo is overlooked at Marist. Mihalcik said she thinks this could be because they are a newer sport, or because they have no male counterpart.

“I think the reason that a lot of students do not follow water polo is because many of the players are from obscure places so we do not have a local following,” she said. Mihalcik, like the rest of her teammates, gets aggravated when people refer to water polo as a club sport.

“It really bothers me because I know that we are one of the hardest working teams on campus just by sheer hours and it makes me resentful that we work so hard and people underestimate our level of competitiveness,” she said.

Mihalcik said she views water polo as more than just a sport, she thinks of it as a lifestyle. The team has a very rigorous practice schedule. Mihalcik wakes up at 5:15 a.m. in order to practice from 6 a.m. until 7:45 a.m. She then returns to the pool for practice again at 6 p.m. where the team does a dry land activity for a half hour, and then has swimming and water polo practice until 9 p.m.

“Sometimes we do abs, or run a campus loop, and if we behave, sometimes we get to play dodge ball,” Mihalcik said about their dry land activity.

Womens water polo team.

Women's water polo team.

This life style definitely brings stress upon Mihalcik. Morgan Carnevale, Mihalcik’s roommate says she does not get to hang out with Mihalcik as much as she wants because she is at practice all the time, and when she is not practicing she has so many other things to do.

“It stresses her out a lot but I know she will never quit,” Carnevale said. “Every year she mentions it and I always think she might actually do it, but she never does. She loves water polo too much.”

“I have been playing my whole life and because I have been doing it for so long I would never give up my life’s work just because I do not like to wake up early,” Mihalcik said.

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