Murray takes athletic talents to collegiate level


Large splashes ring through the stadium as two players grapple underneath turbulent waters for the upper hand. Suddenly, one surges up, rears an arm back, and slams the ball straight into the net. While unfathomable for many, this is routine for three-time offensive water polo player of the year, senior Nicholas Murray. With over 60 goals in this season alone, his dominance in the pool has attracted a flood of offers from numerous Division I schools. 

First introduced to the sport in seventh grade when his sister joined the team her freshman year of high school, an encounter with her coach prompted his interest in water polo. 

“[It was her] coach that made me want to play,” Murray said. “He was nice, he always explained things to me and he made me enjoy the game.” 

Steadily developing his skills in the following years through hard work and dedication, Murray began to play for a competitive club team, Chino Hills Aquatics Water Polo, as a freshman. From Junior Olympics to U.S. Club Championships, playing with such an elite team gave him invaluable experience; Murray’s involvement in such distinguished tournaments led to his break-through as one of the best players on the school team. 

Named first team all-league sophomore year as well as offensive player of the year for three consecutive seasons, Murray has previously qualified for the Olympic Development Program. Despite his diligence both in and out of the pool, as he practices with his club team three times a week along with the two-hour sessions for school, Murray attributes part of his success to his peers. 

“I’ve made some of my closest friends in water polo,” Murray said. “Whether it was in the club or the high school team, I have always been surrounded by good teammates who make me want to work harder.” 

Although cumulative stat cards are currently not available, Murray is estimated to have garnered hundreds of goals throughout his high school career. Averaging eight goals, seven steals and six kick-outs per game, his success in the sport has attracted recruitment from Division 1 schools, including California Baptist University and Biola University. 

“I have offers, but I haven’t committed anywhere yet since it’s still really early,” Murray said. “[Some other schools] I am in contact with are UCI, Pepperdine, UC San Diego, and other D1 UCs and Cal States.” 

Planning to continue to compete at a collegiate level, Murray aspires to major in political science and business, with the end goal of attending law school. 

“My message to anyone that wants to play water polo would be just to not give up,” Murray said. “It is very physically demanding and mentally challenging, but it will all pay off if you put in the hard work; it is worth it.” 

Unfortunately, Murray’s initial coach had passed before he began high school. Although his inspiration is no longer physically present, Murray continues to play to honor his legacy. 

“My sister’s water polo coach was the reason I began playing,” Murray said. “But now, I play to pay tribute to him, and honor him in a way.”