Make sure to check out her app 6-8 sports at https://www.6-8sports.com/ that provides both players and coaches with drills and information to develop. They have also added some home training for water polo players now that pools are no longer accessible.
EB: Hi Maggie, thanks again for taking the time to answer a few questions.
MS: Of course! and no worries.
EB: Firstly, how are you dealing with the current lockdown and how are you managing to stay active?
MS: At first, it was definitely an emotional rollercoaster especially with the wavering news about the Olympics. But now that we’ve had some time to digest the information and let it process, it’s been accepted and allowed me to just focus on each day and enjoy this time while I can – make the most of it. We still do a lot of team activities and meetings to stay connected and have been given some strength workouts to do at home. I have created my own little routine for each week which includes some yoga, running, indoor bike, strength circuits, cooking a ton, getting work done for 6-8 Sports, and reaching out to friends and family!
EB: How did you get involved in water polo and who were some of the players you would have admired as a young player?
MS: I started playing when I was 8 for Diablo Water Polo Club. My Dad is from Puerto Rico and played on their national team as well as at UC Berkeley (CAL). Maureen O’Toole, 2000 Olympic Silver Medallist, started Diablo Water Polo Club and luckily had connections with my Dad. I had played all different sports – swimming, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, etc – so water polo was the perfect sport to tie them all together! Mo became my coach, but more importantly a mentor and role model showing me what it took to be an Olympian. As a younger player, I looked to Maureen O’Toole and my older siblings (Jessica Steffens 2X Olympic Medallist) as well as Brenda Villa and Tony Azevedo.
EB: What has been your favourite or most memorable tournament that you have been involved in?
MS: I mean, I think I HAVE to say the 2012 Olympic Games – first Olympic games AND side by side with my older sister AND the first ever Gold Medal! Can’t get too much better than that! Each tournament is special – I think of the 2015 World Championships as probably the most challenging tournament giving it such a feeling of reward, as well as the 2016 games – making history! But… playing with your sister at the Olympics is unlike anything else.
EB: What advice would you give a young player who is looking to improve their game?
MS: Use this time to improve on something you may not have had time otherwise. Come back with stronger legs or a more developed wrist or a higher water polo IQ! Make use of this time to find your EDGE. What separates you from the rest?! Have fun with this though, don’t let it stress you out, let it excite you.
EB: Have you had any experiences with Irish water polo, or have you ever been to Ireland on vacation?
MS: I’ve never been, so I think this is the perfect gateway to make something happen! I recently learned I have roots there – so I think it’s almost time for a visit!
EB: Something that we are asking all athletes and coaches is, now that everyone is stuck inside, what old matches would you recommend for young players to go back and watch?
MS: NCAA College Championship games (https://www.ncaa.com/video/waterpolo-women, https://www.ncaa.com/sports/waterpolo-men) and Olympic Games (usually you can find these on olympicchannel.com or just look on YouTube! Also, if you follow my & Tony Azevedo’s company 6-8 Sports, we post games to watch and you can score them on our app! It’s a great way to stay engaged and we choose the best players in the world to watch!
EB: Maggie, thanks so much for taking the time to answer the questions, it will be great to share them with our young, aspiring players. Good luck with the rest of the season (whatever that may be) and stay safe. You’ll always be welcome for a water polo session in Ireland if you ever get a chance to visit!
MS: Awesome, thank you so much! Good luck to you guys as well! Stay healthy and happy 🙂