Argentine water polo player dominates U.S. waters


Amanda Stubbing

Rocio Fesembeck is a 19-year-old water polo star from Argentina who plays for our City College Vaqueros, Monday, Nov. 3, at San Marcos High School in Goleta. Fesembeck played a season of water polo in Argentina and now leads the Vaqueros in points and goals this season.

LANEY DELGADO, Channels Staff

New to City College this year, women’s water polo is sitting second in conference, and leading the team is a freshman player who is already a veteran

Although the team debuted in September, freshman attacker Rocio Fesembeck is no beginner to the game.

“I’m a nice person outside the pool but as soon as I get in the pool everything goes out the door,” said Fesembeck. “I’m an athlete and I’ve got to try. So if you’re in my way you have to move.”

Introduced to the game at age 10 by her older brother, Fesembeck started playing club water polo at an early age. She was hooked almost instantly.

After dominating her craft in high school, Rocio was offered a prestigious spot on the Argentine Junior National team. She competed with the team for a series of games before returning to the United States to play for City College.

Fesembeck, a dual citizen of the United States and Argentina, went to Santa Barbara High School. Under the guidance of long-time coach Mark Walsh, Rocio and the rest of the Santa Barbara High water polo team went where few other teams had gone before, traveling to Greece and Spain to play. Winning numerous high level tournaments and making it to the Semi-Finals of the CIF Division I tournament—the highest level of play possible at the high school level— Rocio was already a veteran to the high-level of play.

“Winning the Tournament of Champions, the Channel League and State Championships with my best friends and amazing coach was the best time of my life,” said Fesembeck.

“Even though we lost in the semis of the CIF Division 1 tournament to a team we beat three times, we were the best team in the country and that was an unbelievable experience,” said Fesembeck. “I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we were so talented. Being a part of that team and making an impact on it is still my proudest achievement.”

Balancing a crazy schedule, she manages to find time to practice every single day with the City College team while juggling work (coaching high school polo) and class every day of the week.

Not only is she just showing up to practice, she is also using her extensive knowledge of the game to take on a role of leadership for the new team. During an interview, City College head coach Chuckie Roth

spoke about that knowledge.

Attributing a good portion of her success at this level to just being a smarter player than the average opponent and being able to be one step ahead of the game at all times.

The coach of 19 years also commented appreciatively about her leadership of the team.

“I don’t think she ever saw herself as a team leader, I don’t think she has ever been put in that roll before,” he said. “But this year she has done a great job being a leader and being someone people can look to in moments of adversity.”

She makes his job a little bit easier.

“She’s really had to take on that roll of an every-moment-your-on kind of player. She’s our Michael Jordan for that matter.”

Rocio attributes most of her success to being an aggressive player. When I asked her what she liked most about playing water polo, she laughingly replied, “winning”. That attitude is apparent as soon as you start talking to her about water polo and numerous sources comment on her ability to switch between the sweet girl she is on dry land to the fierce competitor she is in the water.

Undoubtedly, Fesembeck has a bright future ahead of her. She will be returning to Argentina in the near future, this time playing for the National Team.

Roth hopes that, however much he would love her on his team next year, she will move on to a higher level of play and accept an offer from one of the Division 1 colleges that are looking at her.

But nonetheless, Fesembeck will be remembered as the one of the pioneers of City College water polo.