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Athlete of the Week: 10 Questions with Gaia Hinds, girls water polo

Gaia Hinds. Suzy Demeter/22nd Century Media
Athlete of the Week: 10 Questions with Gaia Hinds, girls water polo
9:45 am PST February 14, 2017

Gaia Hinds, 17, is a junior utility player for the Malibu Sharks girls water polo team.

What first got you into water polo?

When I was 10 years old I went to surf camp over the summer, where I met the coach of the Malibu youth team, Hayden Goldberg. He saw my swimming skills and love for the water and invited me to play on the youth team.

What is your favorite part about playing?

I love the family created by the water polo community and the competitiveness of the game. There is never a boring moment when you just play water polo. I also just love the water and the extra element it adds to the sport. 

What were the emotions like after last week’s game (a 7-6 win in which Hinds scored the deciding goal)? 

The whole team was just absolutely ecstatic. I personally have never been so overjoyed because we worked so hard to get to this point. It is the first time since 2009 that girls water polo has gotten first in league at MHS. Also, for us to win against Foothill Tech, our rivals for the past two years, made it that much better. 

What’s it been like to play for coach Hayden Goldberg?

It’s been amazing because he has been my mentor since sixth grade when I first started playing and has supported me throughout my water polo career, even when I was playing club under another coach. He is the foundation of our team and I couldn’t appreciate him more. 

What are your hobbies outside of water polo? 

I really enjoy rock climbing and drawing, but I unfortunately rarely get to do those because almost all my time is committed to academics and training. 

What part of your game do you feel like you’ve improved most on this season?

I personally feel that my defense has greatly improved along with my overall awareness of the ball and the other players in the game. 

What is your dream job? 

I am not exactly sure right now, but I do have an interest in the field of biology and veterinary studies so being a vet would be a job of interest for me.

What’s the most challenging part of being a student-athlete?

Probably balancing your schoolwork load with your training schedule in order to maintain your grades and physical fitness so you can perform well in games while also getting enough sleep.

What are you most looking forward to after the season?

I’m looking forward to getting back to my club water polo team and beginning to train for the Junior Olympics and the next high school season. 

Who are your favorite athletes?

Probably [American water polo players] Merrill Moses, Maggie Steffens and Ashleigh Johnson. They are incredible athletes that showed me how to work hard no matter what.

Interview by Freelance Reporter Ryan Flynn.