By SIMONE YU
Easily treading the water beneath him to stay afloat, he maneuvers himself away from his opponents with just a swift kick of a leg. Gripping the ball firmly in his right hand, he swings his arm back, and with a mighty yell of determination, hurls the ball past the goalie and into the net, a winning point for the last water polo game of his high school career. His teammates and friends scream joyfully as they all wade around him, hug, and slap each other on the backs. Senior Jonathan Han has seen nothing but success in his high school water polo career.
A mighty and successful player in water ever since the age of 9 and a player of varsity water polo and swim for all four years of high school, senior Jonathan Han sets himself as the epitome of determination and success.
The water superstar has qualified for Junior Olympics, CIF, as well as the varsity water polo and swim teams for all four years of his high school career. In addition to committing to his sport by becoming captain of both sports in his senior year, Han committed to playing water polo at Chapman University on Mar. 29.
Han’s passion for his sports started in third grade.
“I began swimming in third grade and my friends started introducing me to water polo, which I really enjoyed,” Han said. “I joined a swim team at first, and when my friends started talking about how fun water polo was, I curiously went to a friend’s water polo practice and I was fascinated by the aggressiveness and strength of the players. It was a lot more exciting, and I decided to play from then on.”
As Han’s passion for swim and water polo grew from a young age, he took his talents to high school.
“I got into varsity water polo my freshman year, which I was really happy about. I ended up playing for varsity water polo and swim for all four years, and ended up being captain for both sports in my senior year,” Han said. “It was one of my proudest achievements, and it is where I met most of my friends.”
Additionally, with such a hectic schedule, Han pushes himself to get everything done with efficient time management.
“In order to play water polo and swim, I have to make sure [I keep up my academics] and that is what motivates me to stay focused. I make sure that [I do not procrastinate] and make sure I maintain a good routine by starting my homework at school and right after practice.” Han said.
Moreover, Han’s loved ones and goals push him to always strive for the best.
“My parents [motivate] me to always do my best because they always sacrifice their time and energy to help me reach my goals, and that really pushed me on to try my hardest for the people who care about me the most,” Han said. “What also motivated me was getting into a good college. Although any college was okay for me, I [pushed myself to my limits] so I could go to one that would make me the best I could be for the future.”
Along with his motivation, the young man looks up to his father as the figure he wants to be in the future.
“My dad is an amazing and well-rounded person [who] always gives me good advice, whether it be sports or academic knowledge. My dad always supported me at my games and pushed me to try my hardest at school,” Han said. “He works so hard every day, and I really admire that of him. He does so much for my family, and that really motivates me to do the best that I can do. I really hope to grow up to be like him—a strong and caring person.”
Furthermore, Han believes his extra effort in putting in more time for what he loved to do sets him apart from the average swimmer.
“I play water polo outside of just school practices, so I may be at a higher level,” Han said. “I’ve played longer as well, and my love for the sport really shines through, so I think that is what made me a leader for my teammates and friends.”
Besides Han’s commitment to the water, he has enjoyed participating in school activities and making his high school experience the best it could be.
“Water polo was definitely a huge, important part of my high school life, but I also enjoyed school for different reasons. I made amazing friendships, especially with upperclassmen, who had taught me so much about myself. Participating in Battle of the Classes was and is always one of the highlights of the school year.”
Han also looks fondly on his experience as a part of the Mr. Wilson competition this year, being crowned as the winner representing water polo.
“Being a part of Mr. Wilson in senior year was an amazing experience for me, and although I did win, that wasn’t the part that made it the most fun. Having a great time with my friends and having so many family and friends be there to cheer me on and support me was the best feeling in the world.” Han said.
Addition to being a spirited Wildcat, Han enjoys a variety of activities on the weekend to relieve his stress from school.
“Since I have such a tightly-packed schedule around water polo and swim, I usually use the free time I have to do homework, study, eat and sleep,” Han said. “On the weekends, I really enjoy going to the beach with friends, a place I can also practice my sports. I also love to [go on late-night drives to get boba and tacos].”
Now committed to a university in California, Han hopes to achieve a few dreams in mind when he starts fresh again.
“A short-term goal of mine is to stay focused in college, manage my time a lot better, but also have a good time and not stress too much,” Han said. “I also want to spend most of my time on my academics and sports, the two factors that are really important to me. With this goal, I want to finish college with strong grades in order to go to graduate school. Thinking way into the future, I hope to become a physical therapist or dentist and make good money.”
Ultimately, the high school superstar has a sweet dream in mind for the long run.
“After college, I will strive to put in the hard work I need to support my own loving family the way my father supported ours,” Han said.
Being the dedicated, diligent and spirited young water polo champion, scholar and charming young man he is today, it is certainly fitting to call Jonathan Han one of the many superstars at Glen A. Wilson High School.