Tanya Torres represented San Jose State University at the 2008 NCAA Student Leadership Conference, is a three-time Scholar-Athlete and one of the top-15 career goal scorers for the Spartans. The senior from Rancho Cucamonga talks about getting started in water polo, swimming the equivalent of at least a mile a day, her involvement in the university's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and what's in her future as this week's subject in Grill the Spartan.
1. How did you get your start in water polo?
My sister, Tina, played. She started playing in high school. Then, she played club (water polo) for CHAWP (Chino Hills area Water Polo), that I ended up joining. Then, she played at Mt. Sac (Mount San Antonio), Chaffey College and then Cal State San Bernardino. When she was playing, I was playing basketball up until the eighth grade. After the eighth grade, my told me to swim or play water polo, because she said it was good for me. I picked water polo.
2. It sounds like there are a lot of athletes in the family.
My mom (Jeanne Torres) swam in college at Long Beach State. She was captain of the team and swam breaststroke and backstroke, I think, in the 1980’s. My dad, Frank Torres, wrestled at Mt. Sac and at Long Beach State.
3. When did you begin to like water polo?
I liked it from the beginning, because it was new. Even though I played basketball forever, I got tired of it. I wasn’t that bad (in water polo) when I first started. I thought, Why not?’ I thought I would succeed in it (water polo) more than basketball.
4. What positions did you play in basketball?
I was a center and a forward. I liked defense. I liked diving on the floor for the loose ball, but I didn’t shoot that well.
5. What’s fun about playing water polo?
Water polo is an aggressive sport. It’s full contact. That’s what I like. It’s challenging. Not everyone can play, because if you can't swim, you can’t play.
6. How long are you in the water for a regular practice?
Three hours. We stretch and then we enter the pool. Once we’re in, we don’t get out.
7. How do you stay afloat for so long?
The easy part is treading water. You egg beat to stay afloat. The swimming back and forth is the endurance part. That’s when it get’s tiring. I could probably tread water for days. It’s tiring when you are wrestling your opponent or swimming back and forth.