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Fisk to play for U.S. youth water polo squad at Pan Am Games

DHS' Garrett Fisk surveys the pool while playing for the Blue Devils' Sac-Joaquin Section championship squad last fall. Fisk is playing for the United States in this week's Pan Am Games. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

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From page B1 | August 20, 2013 | Leave Comment

For Davis High’s Garrett Fisk, who will be a senior in the fall, a spot on the United States national youth water polo team was a long time coming.

“I’ve been in (the national team) system for three years,” Fisk told The Enterprise. “And I’ve been trying out ever since. This is the first year I made it.”

His persistence paid off this summer when Fisk was picked to represent the United States in the Union Americana de Natacion Pan American Youth Water Polo Championships. He left Davis on Friday to join his American teammates — some of the best players from all over the country — at a training camp in Southern California, before heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the games, which begin Friday and run through Sept. 1

The Pan American Championships feature teams from all over the Americas, and serve as a qualifier for the FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships. That 18-and-under event will be contested next year in Istanbul, Turkey, but by then, Fisk will be too old to compete.

Even if he wasn’t aging out, Fisk wouldn’t be able to become complacent, as U.S. water polo forms a new team for every event, with every spot up for grabs.

“You have to stay hungry,” he said. “For every new team, you just have to keep trying out.”

That constant competition for roster spots is what allowed Fisk’s hard work to pay off with his spot on this summer’s team.

“The fact that he made it this year is a byproduct of his willingness to exert himself, to literally do the sweating and the work,” said Tracy Stapleton, Fisk’s coach at DHS.

In addition to his international achievements, Fisk is also a star player for Stapleton’s Blue Devils. And with the 2013 prep season fast approaching, Fisk has high expectations for the squad: “I expect (the team) to be competitive for the section title.”

The team did just that in Fisk’s junior season and appears poised for a repeat performance.

As one of six seniors on the squad, Fisk said he anticipates being a team leader — which is music to Stapleton’s ears.

“He really needs to be a leader,” Stapleton said. “He’ll need to be one of the bedrocks on the team.”

Fisk began his aquatic career as a swimmer, but soon tired of the repetitiveness.

“I swam for a while, but I got bored of that,” Fisk said. “Someone showed me the alternative of playing water polo with my friends, and I enjoyed it.”

In water polo, Fisk, who now stands 6-foot-4, is able to use his size and strength to his advantage. He plays center, which, according to Fisk, is similar to the position of the same name in basketball. That means that he often takes the worst beating of any player in the pool, which is saying a lot in a sport that can get very physical.

But none of those hard hits have slowed Fisk’s desire to keep playing the game he loves as long as possible. With the support of his mom Linda, dad Harry and older brother Braden, Fisk hopes to continue his water polo career in college.

— Reach Spencer Ault at sault@davisenterprise.net

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