Men's Water Polo Q&A: Charles Olsen

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Charles Olsen, a fifth-year senior on the Pepperdine men's water polo team, has a lot of insight from his time here at Pepperdine. He shares with us his goals for the rest of the season and his plans for the future:

Charles  Olsen

Q: How has the season been going so far?

A: The season has been good. We started off pretty strong, but we were not playing the hardest teams. We were 9-0 to begin with. Then we started playing some really good teams. Our first hard game was against Cal and we played really well, and we only lost by a couple of goals. That was the first time we realized that we could do really well this season. We had more games where we only lost by one or so goals. I feel like we are there, we just need to figure out flow out a little more and play better from the beginning.

Q: How is the team preparing in order to repeat being GCC Tournament champions and trying to get to the NCAA Championships?

A: Our coaches have really emphasized the details. In practice, we would sometimes have 15 minutes to warm up on our own. We would not take advantage of that and just mess around. So our coaches have taken a stronger hold on how we are warming up and how we carry ourselves on and off the pool deck. They want us to focus on the times where it would be easier to just chill and relax, but instead use them to focus on opportunities that we are missing to improve our game.

Q: What are your personal goals for the season?

A: My personal goal is to be the best I can be. It is my last year, so I want to be remembered as someone who had grit and did not fold when we got down. I want to really believe we can win when we play a good team and do my best under a lot of pressure.

Q: What do you think your role on the team is?

A: I am not a starter, but I am usually first or second off the bench. My job is to go in for our captain Mark Urban, and play as hard as I can against his defender and swim his defender up and down the pool, bug him as much as I can, so that when Mark comes back in, his defender is too tired and Mark can get past him easily. I do score every now and then, but my main role is to go in and make Mark's job easier.

Q: What is it like being a fifth-year senior?

A: It is crazy. This morning at weights, this old song came on when we were lifting and it reminded me of the first month I was at Pepperdine lifting in the same gym. I looked at the freshmen, and thought about how quickly these years go by. It is about to be over, but it has been fun.

Q: What would you tell your freshman self, knowing all that you know now?

A: I would for sure tell myself to do better in school and to be smarter about who you confide in and trust. When I was a freshman, I hung out with whoever I met first. Those people were people who were not making the best choices, and I saw myself doing the same thing they were doing. I think it is important to take a long-term approach. You are going to have your fun in college, and there is no specific thing you have to do in order to have fun. I would tell myself to branch out more from the beginning.

Q: Do you have any post-grad plans?

A: I have a few. I want to be an FBI agent, but I have to have three years of professional experience before I can even apply. I need to go out and do something really well and then I can apply. I am thinking about getting an MBA or starting my own company.

Q: What made you want to be an FBI agent?

A: Both of my parents were FBI agents. My mom recently retired and when she was giving her retirement speech she noted how she got to have such an impact on the world and as a mother her job is to keep her son safe. She really felt that as she was doing her job, she was making the world a better place for me. I think it is really cool to have such a direct impact. I feel like both of my parents have really kept me safe.

Q: Looking back over the past years, what has been your favorite memory?

A: I feel like people want to say when we won the GCC Tournament, but it wasn't that for me at all. I actually did not play in that game. I did not play well the whole tournament and I understand why the coaches didn't play me and I honestly did not trust myself to play. That moment was really cool, but the best moments for me were more like the bus ride up to the tournament. We had dinner together and we would all stack up our phones in the middle and talk to one another. It was the little things that might not be the most fun in the moment, but those are the best moments to look back on. Winning is great, but what stands out more is the journey and they guys you become men with.

Q: Is there anything you want to do before leaving Pepperdine that you have not gotten to do yet?

A: If we could make it to the NCAA Tournament and give it our best that would be great. I think that is definitely feasible for us. In general, I want to meet as many people as I can before I am done. In the future I am not going to have this many cool and smart people around me all the time. It is so cool to make connections with other students and teachers here at Pepperdine.

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