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.