As a competitive swimmer, Billy Motherway was always around the pool. Sharing the pool during practice with water polo players wasn’t uncommon, and in the fifth grade, watching the sport piqued his interest.
“I saw the water polo players on the other side of the pool,” says Motherway. “I thought it was cool and decided to try it. I’ve been playing ever since.”
The Mater Dei High School senior and three-year varsity player is a goalkeeper for the Monarchs, which puts Motherway in a key leadership role.
“I love playing this position because I’m the backbone of the team,” says the 17-year-old. “I make saves and contribute big parts to the team.”
As a captain for the Monarchs, Motherway does much more than keep the opponents’ shots out of the cage. He sets the tone for the team’s matches and helps to keep his teammates focused.
“I like to lead by example,” says Motherway. “I try to do my best to be positive and encourage everybody. I really feel that has contributed to our success.”
And the Monarchs have seen plenty success this season. After securing their seventh CIF-SS Division 1 championship with a 13-9 win over Oaks Christian High School, Mater Dei went on to win the inaugural SoCal Regional boys water polo title with a 12-4 victory over Newport Harbor High School. Being a part of a program that has made such a significant impact on the sport locally is something that Motherway will miss.
“I love the camaraderie that I make with the team, and I love the intensity of the sport,” says Motherway. “Mater Dei water polo has a tradition of success, and I’ve enjoyed upholding that. I’ll miss that a lot.”
Motherway’s road in the sport hasn’t been without its struggles. The Santa Ana resident’s father passed away during his freshman year, and while managing grief as a student athlete has been challenging, Motherway admits he has learned the meaning of perseverance.
“You’ve got to keep a level head in the pool, and you’ve got to keep going at it to be successful,” says Motherway. “I’m sure that will help me in the long run.”
His path as a water polo goalkeeper will now take Motherway east as he has committed to play for Princeton University. His faith will be large component for him as he transitions to college.
“I like the aspect of faith and our whole sports life,” says Motherway. “I just think it’s a good way to help the team bond and to lead us through the way.”
For motivation and guidance, Motherway always has and always will look to his father, whose bravery continues to inspire him.
“He had a tough situation, and he had a smile on his face the entire time,” says Motherway. “He was a tough guy, and that’s something that I strive to be.”