Northwest Water Polo Club’s Justin Sim passes the ball during a match. Photo courtesy of Melissa Bakh

Northwest Water Polo Club’s Justin Sim passes the ball during a match. Photo courtesy of Melissa Bakh

Sim shines on the water-polo scene

North Creek High athlete competes at Junior Olympics.

Justin Sim may have strayed from the pool for a while, but he eventually gravitated back toward the water.

The North Creek High senior began his sports experience as a swimmer and then switched over to tennis until eighth grade.

Five years ago, water polo came onto his radar when a friend’s mom suggested they get more active and sign up for the sport at Rain City Water Polo in Seattle. After playing for fun at first, the boys became competitive and soon moved on to the Northwest Water Polo Club in Bellevue. Their intensity level rose even higher while playing on the Eastside.

“I like the team aspect of it, where tennis is like a solo sport. I like to lead other people and work with others,” Sim said of the sport. “My coach has this saying, ‘With water polo, it doesn’t really matter who you’re playing, the winner is just decided on who’s gonna work the hardest.’”

Sim’s Northwest Water Polo Club 18U boys recently defeated rival Tualatin Hills of Oregon, 17-7, to notch fifth in the gold bracket at the 2019 Junior Olympics in Irvine, California, which was hosted by USA Water Polo.

While he felt the team could have played better, their chemistry was solid and they closed out strong for their departing seniors. Sim added that they enjoyed their time together and the veteran players thrived in the position of mentoring the new guys.

Sim plays the two-meter position, where he fights and wrestles his opponents like a center in the basketball realm. He nets some goals and dishes off some assists in a sport where he notes that persistence and hard work are the deciding factors, which he feels are crucial aspects of living a full life as well.

After taking August off from water polo, Sim will soon return to the training grind each day at the Woodridge Swim Club pool in Bellevue.

The Reporter asked Sim a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What special skill would you like to learn?

I’d really like to learn how to paint really well or draw really well. Ceramics is really interesting to me and painting, I watch a lot of Bob Ross videos, it is really fun. I like to just be creative with whatever I do, so it would help me sort of get in touch with that side.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?

Ezell’s fried chicken. It’s next to the school and we just go there off campus during lunch. It’s pretty much the go-to place.

What’s your motto each day when you get up and you go? What do you hope to achieve each day?

My dream to inspire other people. As I played water polo more and more, I started to realize water polo’s a team game, and similarly this life that I’m living is a team game. Each day I try to do things for other people and be a foundation for others, lifting other people up.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

I just re-watched this on Netflix, it’s “Good Will Hunting.”

What’s your favorite kind of music?

Lo-fi, something kind of chill and relaxed. (His dad also got him into AC/DC, the Cure, U2, Fleetwood Mac and others.)

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I’m kind of an offender of this myself sometimes, but using the phone a lot. People that are constantly on their phone religiously. (I’d like to) have more face-to-face interaction other than texting and stuff.

What’s a good thing to do with your friends?

Usually a typical hang out for us is going thrift shopping, eating (on the Ave. near the University of Washington and on Capitol Hill) and then maybe hitting the beach.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

The Northwest Water Polo Club 18U squad is, from left to right, Alex Marlow, Alex Chen, Nick German, Tej Singh, Keegan Klien, Max Black, Chris Freese, Justin Sim (North Creek High), Max Eyrich, Cameron McCaw, Hal Goulter, Tyler Perry, George Arendale and Declan McJilton. Courtesy photo

The Northwest Water Polo Club 18U squad is, from left to right, Alex Marlow, Alex Chen, Nick German, Tej Singh, Keegan Klien, Max Black, Chris Freese, Justin Sim (North Creek High), Max Eyrich, Cameron McCaw, Hal Goulter, Tyler Perry, George Arendale and Declan McJilton. Courtesy photo

More in Sports

Bothell defeated Inglemoor, 35-13, in Northshore football action on March 26 (pictured). In other local action, Woodinville beat North Creek, 21-0, on March 27. Photos courtesy of Greg Nelson
Cougs beat Viks on the gridiron

Bothell defeated Inglemoor, 35-13, in Northshore football action on March 26 (pictured).… Continue reading

t
Touchdown time for Sirmon

Bothell’s Andrew Sirmon dives from 1-yard out for a touchdown in the… Continue reading

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. File photo
WIAA modifies prep sports calendar; football moved to spring

Washington’s high school athletics governing body announced its revised plans for the… Continue reading

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports
WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.

No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities
No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities

Due to the school closure extension, the cancellation includes all practices, competitions, tournaments and championships, WIAA says.

There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces
There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association making contingency plans for high school sports competitions after extension of stay home order.