Athlete of the Week: Bridget McKenna, New Trier water polo
Bridget McKenna is a senior water polo player for the Trevians who scored a team-high 65 goals along New Trier’s journey to third place in the state.
1. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
Before a game, I just make sure to eat certain foods to make sure I am well-fueled. But also before state games I watched this YouTube video of inspirational speeches. It’s my favorite video for before games. Our (athletic director) at New Trier played it at one of the spring sports meetings and I just kept watching it.
2. What are you doing next school year?
This fall I am going to Illinois State University. I wanted to pick a bigger school, and Illinois State is on the bigger side. It’s close. My mom wanted me to stay in the Midwest. When I visited, I liked it a lot. … I liked the atmosphere of being at an in-state university that’s big on football and Greek life and all that stuff.
3. What are you going to miss most about water polo?
I definitely am going to miss the team aspect of it. The part of water polo that is my favorite is being able to push my teammates. It’s just going to be weird doing a workout by myself and motivating myself versus when I’m doing a swim set and keeping up with my teammates and we’re doing it all together.
4. If you could play another sport, what would it be?
I played volleyball up until this year. Unfortunately I had to stop because the sports overlapped this year. I wish I could have played my senior year on volleyball, but if not volleyball, I’d play soccer or lacrosse because they have such a good team environment — lots of fans, lots of fun.
5. What is your dream job?
When I go (to ISU) in the fall, I’ll be studying to be a speech therapist. I guess you could say that’s my dream job. Ever since sophomore year, when I figured out I wanted to be a speech therapist, it’s been something I’ve put my mind to.
6. What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing sports?
When I’m not playing water polo, one of my biggest hobbies is running. During quarantine, I had to figure out what to do to keep in shape and I kind of fell in love with running and now it’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s a stress reliever, it keeps me in shape. Other than that, in the summertime, I love going to the beach also.
7. If you are in Walgreens with a couple bucks, what are you buying?
Definitely a pack of gum. Then I think I’d go into the beauty section and pick out nail polish or hair stuff or body spray. Some good-smelling stuff and a pack of gum.
8. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Probably Italy, because last summer when the pandemic hit I was supposed to go to Italy for three weeks to train for water polo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to. I definitely want to get there and see what I am missing out on.
9. What is something people don’t know about you?
That’s a hard one. I feel like I’m a pretty open book. I guess you could say I am the youngest of four girls. … We aren’t that close in age. I have twin sisters who are 27, a sister who is 22 and I am 17.
10. How would you summarize this season?
This year was definitely a lot of learning. We had a lot of new girls on varsity. Last year, all our seniors were starters so a lot of new girls pulled to varsity for this year. It was a lot of upperclassmen teaching our ways and the culture. By the end of the season, it worked out really well, but there was a lot of learning to get to know each another and learning about the team.
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319