Women’s water polo record holder Madison Ravelo stays in the swim

The Concordia Courier

concordia irvine water polo

By Janie Hobbs | 1/20/2023

Graduate student Madison Ravelo returned to Concordia for a fifth year to continue her water polo career and to continue defending school records. The Courier caught up with the all-time leading scorer as she reflected on her storied career as a Golden Eagle.

Q: How long have you been playing water polo?

A: I have been playing water polo since I was eight years old. My mom had a ton of students in her class that were playing water polo. And this was when water polo was starting to get popular. My mom came home from work one day and was like, “I heard about this new sport that’s in the water, do you want to try it out?” I think I went to the practice the following week and I fell in love with it. In the earlier stages I was juggling three sports, because I was also playing softball and soccer. Then I ended up in seventh going into eighth grade when I decided to just stick with polo. 

Q: What made you choose Concordia?

A: My top three choices were San Diego State, Azusa and Concordia. When I went on my official visit, I definitely felt the most connected with Concordia. I liked how close the school was to home so I could commute back and forth as I am really family-oriented. I decided in the end Concordia was the best fit because of the teaching program they had. I really liked the fact that I could get my credential and my bachelors in four and a half years. I was excited I would be able to explore my faith, while also getting the education I wanted, and also playing the sport that I love.

Q: What was it like coming in as a key player as a freshman?

A: Coming in as a freshman I still had to work for my spot. The first two games we had I didn’t start, and then it was that third game when I ended up starting. I knew coming in as a freshman I was going to have to work for my spot and being able to become a starter and be the leading scorer. It puts you in a hard place because you are a freshman, so you still have to look up to the people that are older than you and respect them. I was kind of [struggling] with not being a leader in the sense [I wasn’t] speaking out a lot, and just being a leader by showing, along with listening to the input of other players. Especially now, as a fifth year, there’s so much input the other players on our team can give us. I was always open to what they had to say. 

Q: Did you expect to be this successful during your career?

A: I guess I wouldn’t say I was expecting it, but that was definitely something I was pushing for. I don’t ever think I deserve something. I think I always have to work for it and being given the honors that I have [I’m still] super humble about it today. I know I worked for those, and even this year it's something I’m excited to work for. I still want to be that First Team All-American, I still want to see if I can break any more records. At the end of the day, I think that what’s most important to me is how the team’s doing and how the team is thriving. If I put in the effort that I can, then those honors can come but honestly what really matters to me the most is how the team is doing. 

Q: What are you most excited about for your senior year?

A: I’m really excited about the team. Honestly, I think we have such a good team this year, and I’d probably say out of my -- now going on 5 – years of playing here, this team is probably the best athletes that we have. I think having a new coach a lot of girls including myself are excited for this year and what's to come. I would just say overall I’m really excited about this team. I know we’re going to do so well. From the little that I’ve seen so far, everyone is working really hard, and I think we all have that common goal that we want to win. 

Q: What is the legacy you want to leave behind as new athletes cycle through this program?

A: I just want people to remember to always stay humble. I don’t ever want people to talk about me as, “Oh, she broke all these records and she’s an all-American, but she’s really self-centered.” And I think that’s something with this fifth year with all these new younger people. I want them to understand that you can work hard, earn those accolades, but also be humble about it and accept criticism. Just because of what I have, doesn’t mean I’m not going to listen to what a freshman has to say. Be humble but also work hard.

Q: What’s in store for you next?

A: I’ve had water polo be my main factor in life for so long, it's weird that it’s coming to an end. This semester I’m finishing up my student-teaching for special education. I will start the master’s program for social/emotional learning in the spring, and then hopefully be done with that at the end of summer, and then by fall I want to start applying for jobs. I might take a little break from water polo. I might swim here and there. I’m not going to stop playing polo. I definitely want to do a master’s program or something along those lines. 

Q: What is your favorite memory from being at Concordia so far?

A: My favorite memory [from last year] was when we beat Azusa at our home pool. That was a super exciting game. And I just remember after the game we were all so excited we all just hugged each other in the pool. [Coach] Dreason was cheering and jumping up and down. You could just see in everyone’s face the confidence that everyone had after that game. That was the first time we’ve ever beat them. 



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