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Athlete of the Week: Gallas ’16 steps up in Invitational

The driver swims like a dolphin and bites like a shark en route to scoring eight weekend goals

Contributing Writer
Friday, September 20, 2013

Matty Gallas '16 scored eight goals for Bruno during last weekend's water polo match.

With the men’s water polo team’s two leading scorers out for the Bruno Fall Invitational last weekend, Matty Gallas ’16 stepped up to the plate and scored eight goals during the tournament. Gallas is originally from Manhattan Beach, Calif., and plays as a driver on the 6-4 squad. For his intrepid play, The Herald has named Gallas its Athlete of the Week.

How did you start playing water polo?

I started playing water polo in high school. I’d grown up always swimming, and I played basketball when I was little, and I think I got sick of the individual part of swimming — it was kind of boring. And I loved the team aspect of basketball, so my parents brought it up one day, if maybe I wanted to play water polo. They didn’t want me to play football in high school, so that became the obvious option in the end.

What was your first year like on the Brown team?

I had a really good time on the team and I loved all my teammates. Adjusting to the game was kind of different, mainly because people are more mature. Guys are bigger, to be honest. On my high school team I was always one of the biggest players, and then coming to college it’s like I’m the smallest guy on the team, or one of the smaller guys, and I pretty much have to rely on being fast. … But from the team aspect, I loved the team from day one. Everyone seemed to get along. Most of us are from California also, so I had a connection in that sense.

What is the hardest part of training, or school and sport at the same time?

The whole school and sports thing, that’s tough. I mean, the thing is it’s hard to be a student-athlete, especially at Brown when obviously everything revolves around academics, but at the same time, you’re involved in a D1 sport and it’s super time-consuming. And it’s hard taking these two giant time sucks and putting them together and having time in the middle of the day to nap in between and stuff like that. For me, my whole schedule revolves around napping in the middle of the day because I have to leave two hours, otherwise I can’t practice the way I want to.

You guys get up really early, right?

Tomorrow morning we have 6 a.m. practice. And then we have another practice in the afternoon. So we have double days twice a week. It’s definitely pretty tedious after a while. But the hardest part of training is probably just getting up in the morning and getting in the pool.

What does being a driver entail?

It means I tend to stay on the outside. Mainly on my team, my role is to be more of a passer than anything else. We’re surrounded by a bunch of really good shooters, and occasionally I’ll shoot if I’m open and have an opportunity, but I’m really supposed to set up.

How long can you tread water? Because you can never touch the ground. 

I mean, it’s kind of funny when people ask you that because it’s kind of second nature. I don’t really think about it. I don’t know, it’s like walking.

This weekend you scored a lot of goals. Any thoughts?

I had a couple good goals this weekend. … We had a couple people out for injury. Our two leading scorers were out with concussions, and we played a bunch of hard games, and I think this weekend was really big for us, not just for me but as a team we came together without having those people to rely on. And that’s so important for us, especially the freshmen coming in — they get playing time and get confidence.

What’s your routine before a game?

I’d say I eat a lot before games. A lot of people don’t because we’re in a pool and a lot of people think they can’t eat before going in a pool, but I can’t play if I’m hungry. If I start to feel hungry in the pool, it’s all I’m thinking about. So I eat a lot before I get in. That’s the only thing I abide by.

What is your message for people who don’t have any relationship with Brown athletics?

Just get out there and go to the games. Even if you don’t know what the sport is about or how to play it, when you go to the actual games you can feel the energy in the pool or at the field or wherever you’re going. I think it brings a lot of people together. It’s not just about being on the team, it’s about support.

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