With a background in water sports that includes surfing and wakeboarding, it was a logical path for Jacob Roberts’ athletic career to lead him to the pool.
“I started playing water polo in the eighth grade, and what really got me into it was all my friends,” says Roberts. “They all started to play, so I decided to give it a try. I went out the first day and absolutely loved it.”
Despite spending plenty of time in the ocean, the Servite High School senior and third-year varsity player did not have a background in competitive swimming. He also got a later start in the sport.
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“I was pretty inexperienced coming in, and my knowledge of the game wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be,” says Roberts. “To overcome those obstacles, I decided to just play as much water polo as I possibly could.”
In the role of attacker, or “commander of the offense” in the pool, the 17-year-old Roberts enjoys the leadership required of the position.
And his leadership role doesn’t stop there, as Roberts serves as captain for the Friars, a role that Servite’s water polo head coach, Andy Coffman, believes that Roberts finds success at because of his balanced approach to his captaincy.
“Jacob leads by example in how he trains and competes at practice, but he is also a vocal leader,” says Coffman. “I believe he is able to be such a tremendous leader because he is so well balanced spiritually and academically, in addition to his commitment to water polo.”
Roberts also represents the Friars’ swim team each spring, specializing in the 100-yard breaststroke. Out of the water, the Anaheim Hills resident participates in several clubs on campus, including the Red Cross Club and National Honor Society. Additionally, he serves as a confirmation sponsor at his church, and cites his faith as a major factor in how he approaches life as a student-athlete.
“Faith plays an immense role in my life as a student and as a water polo player,” says Roberts. “Without our faith, without God, none of us would even be here. That’s something I keep in the back of my mind.”
Roberts hopes to continue to play water polo at the collegiate level, along with studies in either biology or business. Whether it’s athletics or academics, Roberts relies on the guidance of several role models in his life, including his parents, Servite’s water polo assistant coach and USA Water Polo Hall of Fame member Jody Campbell, and his terminally ill grandmother, who holds a special place in Roberts’ heart.
“Her life has really shown me to be happy in anything,” says Roberts. “No matter what, she lives every day as if it will be her last. I’m really inspired to live how she does.”