Shattering Expectations

Senior water polo player Maggie Goodwin breaks records, places tope five in State


Soon after senior Maggie Goodwin signed up for water polo in the seventh grade through a class offered by a local park district pool; what was to be a simple pastime turned to be a passion that would drive Goodwin to make her mark and put her name on state leaderboards.

During this past season and her senior year, Goodwin broke two state records in girls water polo. She now holds third in state for most goals scored in a career (517) and second in state for more goals scored in a season (215). Goodwin averaged 5.4 goals per game ever since her sophomore year and she was responsible for a large percentage of the goals made by the Mustangs this past season with the help of her team members who supported her in breaking these records.

Goodwin has been playing water polo for a total of six years. Besides being a part of the RMHS water polo program, Goodwin has also been a part of the District Unified Water Polo Club (DUWP), which is the off-season training program for boys and girls water polo players from District 214’s six high schools. 

Goodwin was quick and unhesitant to accredit her success to the help she received from her coaches and teammates.

“I could never have achieved any of this without my coaches and teammates,” Goodwin said. “All of the coaches at DUWP, Mrs. Lussow, Mrs. Thorburn and Mr. Dufkis have all taught me so much. My teammates, past and present, like Betsy Zanocco, Kaeley Hickey, Emily Walters, Lizzie Hardt, Anna Frantom, Dorothy Enabe, Sara Luedloff, senior Rylan Bratek, senior Julia Skwerski and sophomore Sammi France have all helped me so much. All of them have inspired me and pushed me to do better every day. All of the coaches and players I mentioned each helped me in their own unique way. While some taught me key skills, gave me various tips and tricks [or] directed incredible practices, others simply made me laugh, which I feel like is so important when playing a sport. What’s the point if it’s not fun? I wanted to break the records for them.” 

While Goodwin accredits her success to her teammates and coaches, she was no less of a team player when she was focused on breaking state records.

“Maggie was pivotal in practice by helping teach the other girls new things,” Head Coach Joel Dufkis said. “Her practice was the same as her teammate’s, but she had more of a coaching role at times than a player. Maggie is a great role model for the other players. She was a great player in the water but also was always willing to help her teammates out.”

Besides having the support of teammates and coaches, breaking these records also required physical and mental strength. As she made her way up the leaderboards during the season, Goodwin would have to evaluate and reevaluate her mindset before games to prepare herself and evoke confidence.

“I approached each game with the thought that I could always do something different to play better than before; there’s always something that I could change to make a better pass, play better defense, make more accurate shots, etc,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin had to up her game as soon as she entered high school when she was placed on varsity as a freshman. She has been evaluating herself and developing as a water player since then and is grateful for the opportunities she has an underclassman on varsity.

“You really just have to be confident in yourself and your abilities. I also learned, especially from Lussow, that it is so important to challenge yourself,” Goodwin said. “[As a freshman on varsity], I was very intimidated and often questioned my position on the team. However, I can see now how crucial that was. The challenge of playing against upperclassmen only made me better. I had to push myself so much harder to reach that varsity standard. As a person, I think polo has made me an overall more confident person. I feel like it has been a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ kind of situation.”

Goodwin’s love for the sport was so deep because of the support team she had throughout her career. Her teammates and coaches helped to develop Goodwin into the person and player she is today. 

“I really just felt so grateful to have played with all of the people that made it possible,” Goodwin said. “I never could have done anything without such amazing coaches and teammates. I’m also felt so proud to put the Rolling Meadows’ name up on the leaderboards.”

As Goodwin will be continuing her education at the University of Minnesota, she hopes to fulfill her passion for the sport by continuing to play water polo. As she leaves RMHS and the water polo program behind, she hopes to inspire future players to be the very best players they can be.

“I hope to pass on confidence,” Goodwin said. “I think it just makes so much of a difference. Passion is also so valuable. You can’t really do much if you don’t care.”