Healthy habits help van Reeken advance in sport



Junior Jordan van Reeken made all-MAAC First Team selection during her sophomore season.

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

Iona College junior and women’s water polo player Jordan van Reeken has grown into a different player throughout her years playing water polo.

Van Reeken has a total of 17 goals from 38 shots this season with a .447 shot percentage, the highest on the team. She recorded a total of 72 goals from 186 shots last season, scoring the second-most goals for the Gaels.

The junior first started playing water polo when she was just 11 years old. She used to play soccer and decided one day to give this sport a shot. It was from then on that the leading top scorer played the sport five days a week. When she got older, the routine changed to twice a day for three days a week and once a day for two days a week.

The consistency of playing the sport helped van Reeken become better throughout the years. It has also helped outside of the pool.

“[The consistency] made me want to continue playing water polo,” van Reeken said. “The time management aspect of it made me realize that I could potentially handle this at a higher collegiate level.”

The difference between secondary school water polo in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago and collegiate water polo here became evident when she was a freshman. The integration of the sport into the school day was different, which van Reeken had to adapt to.

That’s the only real adaptation van Reeken had to make coming to college. The intensity of the practice and level of play was normal to the international player. Van Reeken has been a part of the Trinidad and Tobago National Water Polo Team since 2012.

Despite the background, getting used to a new system was a challenge. The then freshman had to get into groove with a group that had played together for three years. Despite the hurdle, van Reeken found where she fit in perfectly with the help of her teammates and her coach, Brian Kelly. She became the third highest goalscorer for the Gaels in the 2018 season, scoring 44 goals from 181 shots.

Since then, van Reeken has grown familiar with Iona’s way of play. Understanding Kelly’s coaching style has helped her become a better player as well.

Despite the rough start to the season, van Reeken believes it will go well.

“I feel very confident with how this season’s going to go,” van Reeken said. “Not only for me, but for the rest of my team. Our chemistry’s really good [and] we have a lot of talented people.”

Van Reeken likes to set goals for herself for each game, such as drawing three exclusions or scoring five goals. One challenge for van Reeken this season has been achieving those goals.

“If I don’t hit those marks that I want to hit in a game, that kind of gets me down,” van Reeken said. “That’s [a challenge] that I think will continue throughout the season.”

With top performances and team-leading stats, van Reeken could be set to become one of the team’s leaders, both in and out of the pool. With the leadership comes added pressure, but that shouldn’t all be focused on one person, according to van Reeken.

“I feel like on our team we do a pretty good job of not putting it all on one person,” van Reeken said. “I feel like it’s not going to be that difficult because I have people supporting me and taking some of that pressure off.”