Katie Klein ’22 helped the women’s water polo team achieve five victories over the weekend in their first tournament of the season. She converted 12 goals in six games while guiding her team to a 5-1 record, with the only loss coming to No. 18 Wagner College. Klein’s weekend was highlighted by a four-goal performance against Austin College and a hat trick against Siena College. Klein, an attacker, made her presence known from day one of her collegiate water polo career, scoring at least two goals in each of her 17 games during her rookie season. She led the team in scoring with 54 successful shots and came third in opponent ejections drawn at 31. Before coming to Brown, Klein played at the club level for Diablo Water Polo and at Campolindo High School, where she earned USA Water Polo Academic All-America honors in her junior and senior year. For her achievements at the Bruno Classic, Klein has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: What was your favorite game in the tournament over the weekend?
Klein: My favorite game was probably our last game, the (Wagner) game, even though we lost. It really exposed what we need to work on because it was a more competitive game. We’ll benefit from playing more games like that going forward.
You were originally committed to the University of Southern California. Why did you ultimately decide to come to Brown?
I had a huge change of heart because I decided Brown would be a better fit for me all around, both academically and sports-wise. There’s a better balance between the two at Brown, whereas at USC, I think I would have spent a lot more time in the pool and not as much time in the classroom. My sister played water polo at Princeton, and she really liked her experience. I really wanted a similar experience to what she had, but not the exact same, because I was always following in her footsteps growing up. I wanted to do something a little different. But our coach, (Felix Mercado), is what put me over the edge in wanting to come to Brown. He really embodied everything I wanted out of a coach.
How did you first get involved with water polo?
My older sister played water polo. I was always pretty hesitant to play because I didn’t like the idea of swimming without any goggles. But our family has always been super involved in sports, and my sister was doing it. So my parents made me try it, and I ended up loving it.
Do you have any water polo idols or role models?
My club coach growing up, Maureen O’Toole, has always been someone I looked up to. She went to the Olympics, and I’ve always admired how she approaches the sport. She’s one of the hardest workers I know.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your collegiate water polo career so far?
That’s hard to say because water polo is such a team sport, so it’s difficult to pinpoint anything as an individual accomplishment. I think in terms of team accomplishments, I would say last year, when we beat (Marist College) during our senior game. That was a really fun time for the team, and it was really memorable.
Do you have any goals for your water polo career before you leave Brown?
I definitely want to beat Princeton and Harvard before I leave Brown, and I definitely want to play in the championship game of our conference.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.