As someone who has spent most of his life in the water, it seemed like a natural progression for Spencer Lupin to go from being a swimmer to taking up the sport of water polo.
Getting his start in sixth grade and picking it up quickly, the
Santa Margarita Catholic High School senior found himself drawn to the physical play and non-stop action of one of the most demanding games in all of sports.
“I like the physicality of it and how it’s never the same thing,” says Lupin. “It’s a fast-moving game so it never gets boring.”
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But Lupin is quick to acknowledge the mental side of the sport as well, how keeping emotions in check is critical to the progression of the game.
“A lot of it’s mental, too,” says Lupin. “Staying mentally focused is a huge part of water polo, making sure you don’t let yourself get frustrated or angry.”
In his final season competing in the pool for Santa Margarita, Lupin and his varsity teammates took a memorable path to this year’s CIF playoffs, losing a coin toss for second place in the Trinity League, but then winning a qualifying match over Servite, one of their toughest competitors, by just one point.
The Eagles fell short of their goal of making it past the playoffs’ first round, but Lupin is grateful for his experience at Santa Margarita, because his success has boosted his confidence and shown him his potential as an athlete.
Graduating means saying goodbye to teammates who feel more like family, but the standout player leaves behind a legacy of having made a long-term impact on the sport at his school.
“He is one of the guys who has changed the culture of our program with his ‘must-win’ attitude and the physical presence he brings to every game,” says Santa Margarita’s varsity boys water polo head coach, Paden Mitchell. “When Spencer is fired up, the whole team is fired up, and oftentimes that energy makes us a completely different team. We transform into a confident force that’s willing to take on any challenge.”
As Lupin looks ahead to college, the Mission Viejo resident has hopes of landing at a Division I school where he can continue to compete in water polo at the highest level. Careers in law or communications are paths he’s considering, as well as possibly playing water polo professionally in Europe.
Regardless of where he plays, Lupin has learned plenty of life lessons from the sport to navigate the unknown waters ahead.
“Water polo has taught me that definitely you always need to be prepared for anything,” says Lupin. “You need to be ready for anything that’s thrown at you and be ready for chan