Sophomore attacker Andrew Milcovich (
Q: You said you chose Pepperdine for the smaller academic environment. Did you look at the larger schools as well?
A: “I looked at several schools that were recruiting me and I just didn’t think I’d like the 200 person class size ... I came from a small school and I think that environment is more conducive to learning for me.”
Q: Coming from De La Salle High School, which is nationally recognized for its athletic program and being one of the top athletes in high school water polo, was the transition to a Division I school with some of the best water polo players on the collegiate level difficult?
A: “No, not really because I played Premier League with some really good college water polo players when I was in high school. I used to drive to UC Berkeley a couple times a week to practice with my club team. It prepared me for what to expect.”
Q: You also have two older brothers who have played at the collegiate level. Where did they play?
A: “My brother John played for the Naval Institute and my brother Will is playing his senior year for the University of the Pacific.”
Q: How do you like living in Southern California versus
A: “The first thing I noticed is that it’s always sunny here and doesn’t rain very much. In
Q: Tell me about this year’s team in comparison to last year.
A: “I feel like there is much more cohesiveness. We have our core group of guys back (Adam Hewko, Matt Digges, Grant Miller and Matt MacDonell). They redshirted their junior year and really sacrificed a lot for the future of the team. I think last year it was hard for them coming back after being out of competition for a year and trying to mesh with the other players. Now I feel because we’ve all played together competitively for over a year that we will be a more consistent team.”
Q: What’s it like playing with Adam Hewko, who has been a strong presence on the U.S. National Team and made it all the way to the final cut for the U.S.A. Olympic Team?
A: “Adam’s experience, his presence in the pool, the fact that he went to the Pan Am games and won a gold medal, permeates down to the team ... everyone draws off of it.”
Q: Sometimes I hear him coaching in the pool. Is the team receptive to that?
A: “Actually all the seniors have taken on the role of ‘coaches in the pool.’ We know how much they’ve given to the program and we trust and respect their advice.”
Q: I know that you’re expected to be one of the key offensive players this year. How have you prepared for that?
A: “I’ve been working really hard on my conditioning and trying to find my place on the team. I’ll play hard whenever the team needs me to play whether I’m starting or not.”
Q: Gary O’Brien is the new assistant coach this year. How has his new role impacted the program?
A. “Gary and Jack (Kocur, the head coach) really complement each other.
Q: You had one of the highest G.P.A.’s on the team last year. Tell me how you balance academics and athletics particularly with your rigorous workout schedule.
A: “It’s a matter of prioritizing and time management. My parents made it clear that I’m here for school first. I make sure my schoolwork is done before I do anything else.”
Q: Is it difficult for other students to understand what a tremendous commitment you have to make as an athlete and how it infringes on your social time?
A: “I hang out with the other players on the team and other athletes on Pepperdine teams most of the time. They all understand the balance because they’re in the same situation.”
Q: What do you guys do for fun?
A: “We spend a lot of time at the beach and we have barbeques at the apartment complex where we live ... It’s like a Mediterranean Villa.”
Q: What’s the greatest thing that happened to you since being at Pepperdine?
A: “I got to meet Ethan Kraft (junior center Clayton Snyder played ‘Ethan Kraft’ in the Lizzie McGuire movie).”
Q: What’s your greatest water polo memory?
A: “Beating UCLA last year in the pool on their senior day. We went into six overtimes and finally beat them 7-6. It was the longest match I’ve ever played.”
Q: How do you think the Waves water polo team will do this season?
A: “We’re not afraid of anyone. There isn’t a team out there that we can’t compete with. We want to be the national champions.”