Despite her love of water polo and her success in the sport, Elizabeth has struggled with self-confidence for as long as she can remember. Her self-doubt began in elementary school where she both struggled with her hearing and had a disability making it difficult for her to pronounce several sounds and words.
It was in playing water polo that she found her identity and gained self-confidence; however, that changed during her sophomore year when she was the lone player from her junior varsity squad promoted to varsity, leaving behind her friends and former teammates. The emergence of COVID-19 left her feeling further isolated, unable to participate in her sport or connect with friends. She was back in the pool for her senior year, but still not where she wanted to be emotionally.
When she arrived at San Joaquin Delta College in 2022, she had a breakthrough when she shared with Coach Nathan Varosh her prior and ongoing struggles and challenges with self-confidence. Coach Varosh began identifying fun ways to engage Elizabeth and restore her confidence. For example, when he notices her struggling, he challenges her to “fight” or arm wrestle. This brings out her competitive side and restores her belief in herself.
Despite her personal challenges during her freshman year, Elizabeth was an essential player for the San Joaquin Delta Mustangs, scoring six goals and five assists. So far during her sophomore year, playing in just 12 of 17 games due to a concussion, she has scored 12 goals and six assists and recorded nine steals
As a result of the positive impact of coaching on her life, Elizabeth’s educational and athletic journey continues. She plans to transfer next year to a four-year university, complete her degree in history, and become a teacher and coach.
“Within the past year, I have noticed a dramatic improvement in my self-confidence, which has allowed me to heal and improve my performance both in the classroom and in the pool, where I am really enjoying playing at the collegiate level,” explained Elizabeth. “Coach Varosh and Coach Taitum Herrington have created a caring environment in which we check in on each other every week to keep our pool deck positive.”