Player Profile: Alexa Grau


The Voice: What is it that really happens under water during a water polo game?

Alexa Grau: Water polo is definitely one of the toughest sports around. Since the referees are on the pool deck, you can get away with a lot of kicking, grabbing, and scratching. Luckily, I avoid most of that as goalie, but I still have the ripped suits to prove it.

The Voice: Is it as vicious as it seems? Any injuries? What are some hacks to prevent ?

AG: Water polo is definitely, if not more, as vicious as it seems. Most of the really bad stuff purposely happens under the water. This season alone, the team has faced scratches, exposure, nose punches, and a lost tooth. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid the injuries unless you’re planning on striking first and getting yourself kicked out (which is not advised). I know a common trick is covering yourself completely in Vaseline, sunscreen, or baby oil so people can’t grab you, even though it’s technically illegal.

The Voice: How long have you been playing water polo and how did you get started?

AG: I have been playing water polo since 6th grade, when I started playing on a club team here. My dad played water polo in high school and was an assistant coach for Pres at the time.

The Voice: Do you play water polo outside of Pres?

AG: Like most of the people I know, I play water polo almost all year. During the summer and winter, I play for Stanford Water Polo Club.

The Voice: What do you love most about water polo?

AG: The sense of reward you get from playing it. It is truly one of the toughest sports. Water polo players are doing all the work of any other contact sport, plus the added element of not drowning. Knowing you left everything you had in the pool is one of the best feelings in the world.

The Voice: What’s your favorite water polo memory?

AG: It would have to be from CCS freshman year. We were playing SI in the quarterfinals, but we had already lost to them twice that season. Instead of letting the past games control us, we shut them out the first half, led the entire game, and beat them when it really mattered.

The Voice: Do you plan on continuing to play in college?

AG: I am hoping to. I’m currently talking to coaches, but the recruitment process for water polo starts and ends much later than most other sports.

The Voice: How do you train to be able to tread water?

AG: When starting to tread water, you really have to focus on getting the motion right so you don’t screw up your knees. After that, it becomes second nature to tread whenever you’re in the water. Then the hardest part is treading with additional weight, like when we tread while holding 5-gallon jugs over our heads, which is over 40 pounds.

The Voice: Do you have a favorite water polo player?

AG: Ashleigh Johnston, who was named top goalkeeper in Rio after Team USA won the first ever back to back gold women’s Olympic medal.