EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third installment of a series about how student-athletes spend their summers, be it on the field, in the classroom or relaxing back at home. This week, the IDS spoke with the water polo team.
Water polo is a sport that is not common among many Hoosiers, but despite that, the Hoosiers still have a strong program, and many of the water polo players spend their summers conditioning for the regular season.
“Water polo is definitely less stressful in the summer,” Black said. “Training pretty much consists of staying in shape and strengthening my body.”
But Black, a transfer from Sierra Junior College, does not let the summer break distract her from an already accomplished water polo career.
The five-foot-three attacker was named first team All-Conference in 2008 and a second team All-Conference in 2007. Along with these achievements, Black is a two-time All-American for both water polo and swimming. She was also 2008 league champion in the 500 freestyle and a member of the Big 8 All-Tournament, both for swimming.
“Katie has a great work ethic,” IU coach Barry King said. “She enjoys the work and applies herself consistently at her highest level possible.”
And in this game, a great work ethic is key.
“Where I live, there aren’t a lot of programs around for me,” Black said. This means she must rely strictly on her self-discipline to make sure she stays in shape for the season.
Black’s summer workout consists of hour-and-a-half swim workouts at 5 a.m. four days a week On her off days, Black goes to the gym for hour-long weight training sessions.
“Water polo does take a little bit of a back-burner position in the summer, but it’s is not totally off my mind,” she said. “I know (the season) is only a few short months away. That’s why I keep training in the summer. During the school year, it never leaves my mind.”
And her summer training is paying off.
“What she lacks physically, she makes up for in speed and strength,” King said. “She’s fast, exceptionally fast.”
Interestingly though, King said it’s not Black’s work ethic — or even her speed and strength — that is her best attribute.
“She is a tremendous teammate, supportive and complimentary,” King said. “Katie has a gift of putting people at ease on her first encounter. She almost instantly becomes the calm eye of what can sometimes become a storm of personalities.”