Year 13 Kristin student Lucia Doak found her love for water polo at a young age, spotting a flippa ball poster after a swim session at AUT Millennium. Intrigued, she signed up and found out she loved it. After two years Lucia moved into the more advanced sport of water polo and hasn’t stopped playing since. She describes becoming ‘instantly attached’ to the sport after attending development camps and clinics provided by North Harbour Water Polo Club. Lucia first represented New Zealand in 2016, and in November last year she was named captain of the New Zealand Schoolgirls team.
What motivates you to play water polo?
My number one motivation to continue playing and contributing to the sport wherever I can, would 100% be the community and my love for the game. After being a part of the water polo community in NZ for 7-8 years I have established some of the most special lifelong connections yet. Being surrounded by such supportive, influential and incredible teammates, officials and supporters of the game motivates me to be the best version of myself. When I play and train, it’s for them and so I can represent our unique community to the rest of New Zealand.
The sport itself also hugely contributes to my motivation to play, in all the sports I have tried, I can confidently say that water polo has been the most exciting as well as the most physically and mentally challenging sport I have participated in. I love my sport and the community surrounding it, that is what pushes me to challenge myself, improve and to be better, for the people and the game.
What has been your sporting highlight over the past year?
In November last year, it was my second year playing for the NZ Schoolgirls team, but that year I was also named captain. This was an exciting sporting highlight of last year for me as it was my first major leading role in a New Zealand team. It meant I was given a huge learning opportunity, whilst also being lucky enough to have a great team of girls and coaching staff surrounding me.
How did you keep active during lockdown?
It was a struggle maintaining specific water polo skills without the pool facility. But luckily I could still continue home gym routines daily, including full-body exercises, cardio and general ball skills with a crazy catcher net. Many of my teams (NZ, school and club) have been sharing workouts with each other to further motivate us, keep each of us accountable and on track for when the season continues.
Who is your sporting role model and why?
I admire and take inspiration from specific skills and attributes of many professional athletes, but my greatest sporting role models would have to be the people I train with every day and play alongside. Players like Emmerson Houghton (a top water polo player in NZ who plays a similar position to me, a great leader who has continued water polo internationally) are the type of athletes I look up to. I was actually lucky enough to play with Emmerson and many other senior NZ players at Junior Worlds last year. I’m very grateful to play and train alongside such hard-working, dedicated individuals like Emmerson in every one of my teams, girls I can always look to for guidance and encouragement to advance, not only in sport but out of the pool too.