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  • Matthew Schwanke

Water Polo Coach Ready for the Challenges

Matthew Schwanke

In October of 2023, Mount St. Mary’s hired Sara Marin as a new assistant coach to join the water polo team and staff of head coach Justin Vink and assistant coach Bobby Halligan.

Marin, originally from Valencia, Spain was not surprised that she ended up at the Mount. She already knew both the current and previous head coach and had considered playing here during her time as a collegiate athlete.

Marin explained that she always knew she would end up at Mount St. Mary’s, she just did not know how. Most of Marin’s water polo experience comes from being a player.

Having started water polo at eight years old, Marin quickly fell in love with the sport and decided that it was her passion. It was not until later however that she would decide that being a coach was what she wanted.

“I didn’t really think about coaching until I was 18. I got way more into it when I was 20 or 21. I reached a point in my college career where I learned so many things and I had so much information and I wanted to use all that knowledge that I gained.” Marin continued, “All this stuff that I’ve learned I want someone else to have it.”

Living in and playing in both Spain and the United States, Marin has gained a lot of understanding into cultural differences both in and out the pool. For water polo, Marin stated that in American the focus it a lot more on the x’s and o’s rather than anything else. She continued that in Spain the focal point is on playing with feel and heart.

Due to the fact she has coached in both, Marin feels that she is able to create a hybrid of the two beliefs to make a new one of her own.

As for the culture perspective Marin understands that there are struggles and challenges but has offered her own story as help for the new foreign athletes.

“We have a lot of international students, so I understand what they are going through and what their mentality is when they are coming here. I feel like having a coach or someone on the staff that is also international helps it be more like home. They have someone that has been where they are.”She said.

When Marin came to Mount St. Mary’s she knew that she wanted to win. She had won championships in Spain and been part of winning teams the United States as well. Although as a coach Marin’s goal is to help the Mount win championships as well, but that is far from her only goal.

“I want (the athletes) to learn as much as they can from the sport. But I feel like when you play a sport, you’re learning to be an athlete, you’re learning about yourself. You are learning a social aspect of you.

The mental aspect like learning how to organize yourself. You learn so many different things. It’s going to sound cliché, but I want them to be the best version of themselves in the water and outside the water.

”As for her main goal, Marin stated something that has been echoed by members of the water polo team since it was started four years ago. “My main goal for here is to leave something better than when I started.”


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