Aquatics International had the opportunity to
talk with Team USA Water Polo players Tim Hutten and
Heather Petri, and diver Ariel Rittenhouse before they left
Hutten, spent a lot of time around the water while
growing up in Southern California. He recently graduated
from UC Irvine where he studied political science. On the
USA Water Polo Team he plays 2-Meter Defense.
Also a Californian, Petri was a member of the bronze
medal 2004 US Olympic Women's Water Polo Team and the 2000
silver medal team. A 2002 UC Berkley graduate, she studied
biology with an emphasis in marine science. Petri plays the
Along with partner Kelci Bryant, Rittenhouse, 17,
recently took fourth place in the 3-meter synchro event.
The duo narrowly missed a bronze medal. Rittenhouse, from
Santa Cruz, Calif., now lives and trains in Indianapolis
under coach Wenbo Chen, while attending an online school.
Rittenhouse, along with her four older siblings, was born
with quite an aquatic pedigree. Her mother Sharon, was a
silver medalist in the 1964 Olympics and her uncle, Mike
Finneran, Sharon's brother, was a diver in the 1972 Olympic
Here's what they had to say about preparing for the
AI: How did you get into your
Hutten: I started swimming on the Seal
Beach [Calif.] swim team around age 8. I started playing
[water polo] around age 11 and played throughout high
school and college.
Petri: [At my high school,] there was
no women's [water polo] team. I tried out for the [men's]
team my sophomore year. I liked it so much and there were
other girls who wanted to play, so we started a [women's]
Rittenhouse: I was always a water baby,
and I'm a former gymnast. My uncle was an Olympic diver, so
[you could say it's in my blood].
AI: What drives you to want to
Hutten: It's a fun sport with a lot of
physical contact. What makes it fun for me personally is
that I can keep trying to push myself and [improve] each
time I play.
AI: What was your preparation for the Beijing
Hutten: Our training schedule [was] six
days a week sometimes seven hours a day; lots of swimming
and drills. It's pretty much the hardest that I've worked
since I've played.
Petri: We train twice a day for three
hours each practice. The majority [of the time] is in the
pool, [but we spend a lot of time on dry land as well].
Rittenhouse: [We've been] training
really hard, at least eight hours a day.
AI: What's the best advice you've
Hutten: I've gotten a lot of advice
from my college coach. He would tell me that if you want to
be successful you have to be self-disciplined and
Petri: I think it was when I was
deciding whether I was going to train for the Olympics in
2000. I had a coach tell me that you just have to put it
all out there.
Rittenhouse: [I've been told] to learn
from my experiences. Even if you have a bad competition,
you can still learn from it and improve.