Although she only started playing freshman year of high school, Niki Reynolds quickly fell in love with water polo. She rose to stardom through high school, quickly learning new skills in a very short period of time.
“I started playing freshman year of high school, much later than all my future division 1 teammates, who generally started around 8 years old,” Reynolds said. “I knew the odds weren’t in my favor coming from a small market in Northern California for water polo and that I started so late. Many other girls had mastered skills by 12 that I was just learning on sophomore year.”
Despite these setbacks, Reynolds secured a spot on the UCLA women’s water polo team, one of the best in the country.
Playing at UCLA taught Reynolds a lot about what it meant to be a high level athlete.
“I learned that no matter how sick, tired or sore you are, if you pulled an all nighter for an exam worth 80 percent of your final grade that day, when you walk on the pool deck, all of that is gone,” Reynolds said. “You give everything you have each day because you know all the great athletes before you did the same, and there are hundreds of people that want to be in my position.”
After college, Reynolds moved to Spain, where she plays professionally in Pamplona.