By Michael Ragovin
La Jollan Connor Carpenter, an eighth-grader at All Hallows Academy, is considered one of the best water polo players under age 14 in the state of California.
He will enter La Jolla High School in the fall, and his immediate goal is to play for the Vikings and then go on to play water polo at USC. Don’t bet against it.
Carpenter has played with the La Jolla Shores Water Polo Club since he was 9 years old. For the last two years, he’s been on an elite national championship team that won gold medals at the Turbo Nationals in Houston, and in Bloomington, Ind. Last summer, his team won gold at the Junior Olympics at Stanford. Last fall, Carpenter won the Jody Campbell Sportsmanship award at the Turbo National Championships at the University of Michigan. He said he started playing water polo at the suggestion of his dad.
At first he wasn’t interested and he couldn’t swim very well. But, as time went on, Carpenter got hooked. He even became willing to put in the extra time to take swimming lessons.
His team practices from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. four days a week. He said he also plays soccer and lifts weights to help him kept fit.
“I discovered I had a natural ability for water polo,” he said, adding that he draws inspiration from Miami Heat basketball player LeBron James because, “He leaves it all out on the court.”
Carpenter leaves it all out in the pool; that’s clear when you look at the result of his efforts.