International experience opens up opportunities, shows potential for Torres

PHOTO+COURTESY+OF+ICGAELS.COM
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International experience opens up opportunities, shows potential for Torres

PHOTO COURTESY OF ICGAELS.COM

PHOTO COURTESY OF ICGAELS.COM

PHOTO COURTESY OF ICGAELS.COM

PHOTO COURTESY OF ICGAELS.COM

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

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Finding the sport you love can be a life-changing moment. Usually when you are a child, you are unsure of what you really want to do in life and just enjoy the things you find fun. This feeling becomes more when you take that thing you find fun in and treat it seriously, setting goals and reaching them. Fun and play become training and hard work, all while still enjoying what you do, striving for one of the ultimate goals in any sport: representing your country doing what you love.

This was reality for senior Jorge Andres Torres this past summer who was chosen to play with the senior Puerto Rican national team in water polo.

Torres started swimming when he was just two years old, but it was not until later in his life that he was introduced to water polo.

“When I was eight or nine, I saw a couple of dudes in the water in their underwear, like ‘what’s that over there?’” Torres said. “I went to figure it out and it was water polo! Since then, it’s been uphill.”

Water polo really began for Torres when he started playing for the junior Puerto Rican national team before his time with the Gaels. Playing with the national team has built his confidence throughout the years with this summer being a huge boost, the goalkeeper said.

“It’s honestly a really good honor,” Torres said. “It’s been real great; I can’t put it into words.”

National team selection consists of training sessions for a myriad of players, with only a few moving on to be on the actual team. Torres’ hard work paid off and led him to experience water polo at the highest level, which he has taken back to Iona to share with teammates.

“Every summer [the Puerto Rican national team] gets a coach from Spain and he gives us tips,” Torres said. “I always take note of those and while we transition here, I help [my teammates] out.”

The summer was booked all-around water polo as soon as Torres found out he was on the team, he said. Training took up six of the seven days of the week, which is much more intense than training here at Iona. The national team trained not only in pools but also in the ocean, according to Torres.

The Iona College senior gave the advice of never giving up, always keeping on top of your workouts and never letting anyone tell you cannot do what you want.

“That’s happened to me throughout the years,” Torres said. “Now look where I am.”

Torres also makes sure to stay up to date with all things water polo, both as a fan and as a player, by following multiple water polo training and drill accounts on Instagram.

The Puerto Rican national player eventually plans to continue playing and traveling with water polo after college. The opportunity to play and represent his homeland helps him achieve that goal, he said.