Student athlete profile

Name: Johnny Taylor

Year: senior

Hometown: Hinsdale

When did you first start playing water polo?

Freshman year. A friend, actually from Fenwick, we were in seventh grade or so, and he said, "I'm doing a water polo club at my school. Want to try it out?" It was a one-week club. I got really interested. When freshman year came along, I joined the team.

What do you enjoy most about it?

I enjoy how physical it is. I feel like I get all my anger out into a sport. All the guys love each other. All the teammates are such good people. We have a great time. It's really fun. I love it.

What is the cost challenging aspect?

Treading. Even if you're in swimming condition - they say, "Do swimming and you'll be fine" - but it's a lot different. You're swimming, but you're also using every other muscle in your body.

How have you improved since freshman year?

I've improved a bunch. Passing and shooting and everything else, too, but I feel the most improved thing would be the awareness of the sport and the rules and the game and everything that goes along with it.

How has COVID-19 affected the season?

Our whole team got contact traced. We played LT and then a couple of days later they were like, "We think someone on LT possibly had COVID." We had to sit out for two weeks. We have a game the day we come back. It was really rough because we were not very conditioned.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I get injured a lot. I have a lot of injuries but I always come back. I like it too much to just leave it.

What are your plans for next year?

Purdue actually has a water polo club. I'm thinking that might be cool to join.

Why does coach Christy Brodell value having Taylor on the team?

Johnny has been a model student-athlete over the last four years. His commitment, his drive, his patience, and his grit are all reasons that our program will miss his presence next year. However, they are the reasons that we have valued him in and out of the water while he has been a part of our program. He is a great athlete but an even better young man.

- profile by Pamela Lannom, photo by Jim Slonoff