Sinking the shot: Q&A with Sydney Cheong ’14

Aaron Lyons

 What are your team and individual goals for this season?

Well, our team goal is always to win CIF, and if not win, then get as far as we can. Our coach always says we have three goals, which are to win League, win CIF and have the highest team GPA. Individually, I want to lead the team to CIF and improve on personal skills in areas of play that I’m not necessarily as good at. This is going to be a big year for me for expanding different facets of my game.

Do you play water polo outside of school, and if so, what is the commitment like?

I play club water polo, and I am at Rose Bowl Water Polo Club this year. While we are not allowed to play club during the school season, in the off-season, we have practice every day plus tournaments most weekends during the fall, summer and spring. Time- wise, school and club are the same, but the practices are very different. In high school you play with a lot of different age groups at a lot of different playing levels, whereas in club it’s all 17-18 year-olds, and most of them are really experienced players. It’s a different experience, but they are both really fun and both very intense.

Which game are you looking forward to most this year?

CIF Playoffs are definitely the pinnacle of the season; it’s what we work for the entire year. There are some important divisional games before that, including the Palos Verdes game and the Los Osos game in January, but everything is just leading up to and preparing for playoffs.

How has the girls’ water polo team’s string of success motivated your team?

It’s a huge motivator because we all feel like we have so much to live up to in order to keep a great legacy going. I’ve been lucky that I have played with some really amazing players, and I feel like I have big shoes to fill. It’s a big driving factor because you don’t want to be the first year to not be successful.

How has the boys’ water polo team’s success at CIF this year affected your team’s attitude toward the upcoming season?

We are so excited for the boys, and in a lot of ways it is a motivator for us too. It’s a little bit of a challenge we have; we have that to live up to as well as our own legacy from the past, so there are big shoes to fill. It’s also a great motivator because we just want the Harvard-Westlake program in general to be the best that it can be. If we can pull off two CIF wins in a year, that would be crazy.

What has been your favorite moment of your Harvard-Westlake career so far?

Both of our CIF championships in 2011 and 2012 were definitely the highlights. The second win, in 2012, may be my favorite because it was a back-to-back win, and I played a much bigger role on the team as a sophomore. You can’t get any better than that.