Seattle, WA -- Meet UW Gold, co-captain, Arielle Howell (#6, Olympia, WA). Arielle is a sophomore, in her second year with the team. After years of competitive swimming, she thought to give water polo a shot. Lucky for UW she did, as she is often the team's sprinter and one of the fastest people in the pool.
Arielle group up in Olympia, WA and began her swimming career with Thurston Olympic Swim Club and Evergreen Swim Club competing in the 50yd and 100yd freestyle. Little known fact about her, is that she hated swimming at first and would cry and throw tantrums to get out of practice. But with a little gentle push from her mom, she stuck with it and the rest is history.
After realizing there was no swim club at UW, Arielle figured what the heck, and thought to give water polo a try. Despite a lack of previous playing experience, Arielle took to the game pretty quickly, with not just being a fast swimmer, but a tenacious defender as well; never backing down no matter who she was guarding.
"Arielle is one of those players that can quickly put a smile on any coaches face," said head coach, Rudy Ramirez. "She is extremely hard working and persistent, constantly trying to learn the game and never beats herself up for not knowing something. She's always improving. Hence a natural fit to lead the UW Gold team this year."
In her first season ever of water polo, Arielle posted: 1 block, 2 assists, 8 steals, 4 ejections earned and 3 goals.
"Arielle is one of the hardest workers on the team," remarked teammate, Karli Stevenson. "She has the kind of work ethic that really pushes the rest of us to step up for every game and practice. It's a huge motivator to have a teammate like Arielle who puts so much heart and intention into every part of the sport. She's a fantastic player."
If you were to ask her, it's not just the challenge of something new that keeps her coming back, but she really loves, "How the team brings together a very diverse set of girls to be friends. People with all different types of backgrounds and majors that you would otherwise never meet."
Camaraderie is a big deal for this team and a major factor for its recent run of success. This year the Huskies will be aiming for their third consecutive division title and a trip to the Collegiate Club National Championships. This team is well on it's way to accomplish its goals, when it has players like Arielle there working hard to push her teammates in practice.
When Arielle isn't smoking everyone during the swim sets and conditioning, she is a major fan of the outdoors. Whether skiing or cycling 1500 miles from Oregon to Mexico this past summer (true story), Arielle pursues numerous outdoors challenges and is just more proof of her crazy work ethic.
As the season gets underway this weekend, we're all looking forward to seeing what happens in year 2.