Student athlete profile

Grace Van Houtte



When did you start playing water polo?

I first started playing competitively when I was a sophomore. I originally was a swimmer, and a lot of my swimming friends said water polo is another really good sport to try if you enjoy swimming but just need a little bit of a break.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

I really enjoy the team aspect. I feel like a lot of water polo is just figuring out people's strengths and weaknesses and figuring out how collectively we could be the best team possible.

How much endurance is required for the sport?

A lot. It's constant swimming back and forth, but also having a defender on you makes it a well-rounded athletic sport where you need a little bit of everything to make sure you can compete at a high level.

What do you hope to accomplish as a team captain?

I just try to follow my last year's captains, where they made it (so) we weren't just water polo friends. Our whole team became a big friend group in and outside of the pool. I'm just trying to continue that.

What is your goal for the season?

We had our first tournament this weekend and we earned a second-place plaque at the Red Devil Invite, which is the highest we've achieved in along time. I think this year we're hoping to set some new records for ourselves.

What are your plans for next year?

I'll be attending the University of Richmond. I'm studying biology with a concentration of neuroscience with a minor in psychology. I'm hoping to play club (water polo) in college.

Anything else?

I'm just super excited for our season. I feel like it's going to be a really good year.

Why does coach Chris Ortiz like having Van Houtte on the team?

She is one of my senior leaders this year and is also a captain. She has a relentlessly positive attitude and is always looking for ways to improve her game. Grace also goes above and beyond to connect with her teammates, which is a trait that every coach looks for out of their captains. In the water, Grace has a game awareness that comes naturally. Her attention to detail allows her to make adjustments in the water to counter our opponents.

- profile by Pamela Lannom, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean