In his final year with the Long Beach State men’s water polo team, Garrett Zaan is training extra in order for him to compete and become a professional water polo athlete.
“I’m gonna try and play up professionally after this. I don’t know where yet, but definitely, one of my goals, play overseas and try that out for a little bit,” said Zaan.
Zaan has been getting his mind and body ready for when the second round of professional water polo tryouts comes in December or January by swimming on a regular basis and hitting the weight room.
“If you don’t swim for a week you’re out of shape real quick,” Zaan said.
Zaan practices twice a day in the pool for the Long Beach State men’s water polo team and he uses the opportunity after practice to prepare for what he hopes to get a chance at the professional level.
It all started at a young age when Zaan was just eight years old and his mother signed him up for various sports. Three of the sports that he recalled were baseball, football and water polo.
“Water polo was different and intriguing to me,” Zann said.
Zann’s mother knew that he enjoyed swimming and after trying multiple sports, he fell in love with water polo.
Since he started playing, he has made it his lifestyle and played competitively.
At the age of 13, Zaan’s father pushed him to join the U.S. youth water polo team but he did not make the team. 2005 and returning Men’s senior USA water polo assistant and current Long Beach State men’s water polo head coach Gavin Arroyo pushed Zaan to give the national team another chance.
Being a part of the U.S. national youth water polo was the most memorable time Zaan had experienced, even winning three junior Olympic gold medals in 2018.
“I made the team that went to Kuwait, I went to Hungary, went to Peru, that was my first trip ever,” Zaan said.
Zaan is currently a fifth-year communication major who finds it challenging to balance his athleticism and education. Currently enrolled in 14 units, his day starts at 7 a.m. when he gets ready to go to his first practice and in between his second practice, he’s in class.
“I’m just balancing everything, with school and keep putting everything you got in the pool and being ready and available for class, balancing everything and time managing everything as well, because practices heavy scores heavy,” Zaan said.
Zaan has been used as a utility player being played at whatever position the team needs. Throughout his career, at Long Beach State he was used as a wing, but this year he has transitioned to center, one of the most important positions in water polo.
“I would play the left side a little bit, this year, I’ve been just playing center for the most part because we don’t have that many centers on our team left,” said Zaan
Zaan plays an important role in this year’s men’s water polo team as he is one of five seniors.
“I’m one of the leaders along with some of the other guys,” Zaan said, referring to being one of the few seniors on the team.
Without his parents, Zaan would not be where he is currently by being the 30th player to have 100 goals scored coming into the season and the support they give him with helping groceries when he is out competing.
“I wouldn’t be here without either of them and my dad especially giving me privates [lessons] when I was younger is a big help in my game and I can’t say anything more than that. It’s been huge, he’s made me the player I am today for everything he’s done,” Zaan said.