By Ashley MackinIt’s been a great month for freshmen Georgia Gilmore at The Bishop’s School and Karli Canale at La Jolla High: on Sept. 4, through their membership with the San Diego Shores water polo club, they were named to the USA Water Polo Association 2013 Junior Olympics First Team All-American for age 14 and under teams, a recognition given to the top seven players in each division.
Not an actual team, First team All- American is a title that recognizes the top seven players in each age group, as voted on by the coaches of all 48 teams with players who compete in the Junior Olympics – that’s 624 players nationally.
With the confidence that comes with the title of First team All-American, Gilmore and Canale tried out for the Olympic Development program on sept. 21. While being a First team All-American does not guarantee a spot in the Olympic Development program, it sure helps, and the girls are still waiting to see if they made it.
On top of that, this dynamic duo shares the title of Player of the Year by the San Diego shores Club, which they were awarded earlier this year. “Shores,” as the girls refer to it, is ranked third in the nation for club teams.
Gilmore and Canale have been playing at shores together for the last three years, and Canale said when the two met, they just clicked. Now they have a sister-like bond.
“It’s fun to know that you have friends who are always going to be there,” Canale said. “(because) you are in a sport, you have so much trust in them to have your back, pick you up and be there for you.”
Gilmore added, “We’re like sisters ... it’s nice to have people that are like family that you see and work with every day, it makes it more worthwhile.”
Having each other has helped with the sacrifice that comes with spending hours a day practicing and competing, and not spending time with other friends. The girls play on their respective schools’ teams, as well as at shores. The club season is on when the school season is not.
Between the two teams, Gilmore and Canale practice two hours a day, three to four days a week, with tournaments on weekends. the girls can share a laugh at how much time they spend practicing and other challenges associated with the sport.
“We have matching scars on our chests from people (accidentally) scratching at us underwater,” Canale said, as the two girls point to the same spot at the same time, giggling.
Seeing that hard work and sacrifice gets rewarded is what Gilmore’s mother Carla said makes her feel good about the recent accolades.
“I feel like it’s a really big honor and they worked so hard and they’ve seen that it pays off. They earned that spot,” she said. “To know that other people, besides your own parents, recognize you are talented and successful is great. I’m really proud of both of them.”