September 21, 2011

Carlson Dives into Second Season

By: Gabe Taylor '12

Only weeks into his freshman year in 2010, Tucker Carlson (TC) stood out as a key member of the Santa Clara men's water polo team. In his debut season as a Bronco, Carlson netted 26 goals to accompany his eight steals. Now in his sophomore season, Carlson is prepared to pick up where he left off. Carlson caught up with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) to discuss his impact as a freshman, his love for music, and his goals for the 2011 season.

SCB: How did your water polo career begin? 

TC: My water polo career actually began as an accident.  I was hanging out with one of my friends, back in the grammar school ages, and ended up spending the night at his house.  Little did I know he had a water polo tournament the next morning at 6:30 a.m.! After I got over the fact that it was still dark, when it was supposed to be morning, I began to watch the team play.  I found myself admiring the game, while also noticing the camaraderie of the other teammates.  This seemed as if it could be my kind of sport!  Soon after the accidental fan-ship, I stumbled onto the pool deck for practice and eventually joined the team in games.  Luckily, it turned out that I wasn't too bad at polo, which was great because my body was most definitely not made for land! 

SCB: How was it winning the section championship in 2009? 

TC: Honestly, that was one of the greatest moments of my life and water polo career.  Most people don't know all the facts of the game, but truthfully I have to mention that I actually didn't score a single goal in that game.  Normally our offense was based on a center, so that people could enter in the ball, so that the center could either try to score, get a kick out, or pass it back out for another teammate to shoot. This game I couldn't do any of that! Davis had studied our game play and found ways to stop it.  I was so proud of my teammates because they all executed perfectly, scoring whenever they could, leading us to our section championship victory. The celebration that followed was nice as well! 

SCB: What made you decide to come to Santa Clara?

TC: I knew from the second I came on my recruiting trip that this was the school for me.  I met a couple professors who were really nice and accommodating,  I met and had a great time with my future teammates.  I was also proud to be able to say Keith Wilbur was going to be my coach one day.  The school was beautiful, but the people who go here and work here made the environment seem perfect to me.  I'd say that it has definitely lived up to the potential that I thought it had! 

SCB: What was going through your head when you scored your first goal at Santa Clara against Cal?

TC: "Please God, don't let me miss this shot!"

SCB: Last year you were named to the WWPA All-Freshman Team.  What was it like having such a large impact on the team's season last year as only a freshman? 

TC: I really couldn't have done any of that without the team's support.  I had a great group of guys giving me advice and an awesome coach that helped me to harness what power I had.  So, really I'd have to give a lot of the credit to them, but it felt really good to have people notice some of the goals I was able to accomplish. 

SCB: You also enjoy writing music.  Are you currently in a band? 

TC: Thanks for noticing! Yeah I actually was very fond of writing poems when I was a young lad.  That eventually translated into freestyling for fun with my friends, which led me to writing some lyrics and recording them with my friends as well.  I was never intending on becoming famous or anything, I was just happy to be able to be a bit artistic, while hanging out with friends. I actually don't play any instruments; I just have been lucky enough to be able to be around others with that talent. 

SCB: Do you have any pre-game rituals that you enjoy doing? 

TC: I actually don't have any specific rituals, but I love to get a little grub in me before games so that I have energy while playing.  I do have one superstition though: never wear your game suit during practice, or terrible luck will follow, almost immediately! 

SCB: What part of your game did you work on most in the offseason?

TC: In the offseason I focused on my defensive side of play.  Although my offense was alright, there was much to be done for the latter.  With help form my team and coach I was able to learn how to play more consistently, while also avoiding the kick out box! 

SCB: How did you spend your summer when not training for water polo?

TC: Sleeping!  No, but seriously I was able to make some trips with my family and friends, which was a satisfying break from the hectic schedule we had over summer.

SCB: What are your personal goals for the season?

TC: I would really like to perform better than my prior season.  With that being said I want to hone in my newly learned defensive skills, as well as try to do some more work offensively.  I would also like to improve myself as a teammate, providing assists and helping positive gameplay, whenever possible. 

SCB: What are you most excited for this season?

TC: I'm really looking forward to having another year with the guys.  We have such a good group of personnel, always working hard and looking to improve.  If we keep improving and succeeding at the pace we are currently, I believe, no, I know that we have a really good chance of winning WWPAs this year!