Scott gets support role for Sydney

"No Bainbridge Islander will get closer to Olympic action than Rachel Scott.The 1994 BHS graduate is the first alternate on the U.S. women's water polo team. Barring an injury to one of her teammates, she won't get in the water. But otherwise, she'll be treated as a team member.I'll travel as the video coach, she said. That means I'll participate in the opening and closing ceremonies as a team member, and stay in the Olympic Village.For the last four years, Scott has been a member of the U.S. national team, which qualified for the Sydney Olympics. But while the U.S. team has 15 members, Olympic rules only permit 13 players on a team. Somebody had to be left home.Coach Guy Baker decided to make Scott the video coach, meaning that she will film all of the team's games. And in terms of how she's treated at Sydney, the coach designation makes all the difference.Alternates don't stay in the Olympic Village, Scott said. It was great of the coach to do this, so I could be treated as part of the team. "

  • Wednesday, August 16, 2000 8:00am
  • Sports

“No Bainbridge Islander will get closer to Olympic action than Rachel Scott.The 1994 BHS graduate is the first alternate on the U.S. women’s water polo team. Barring an injury to one of her teammates, she won’t get in the water. But otherwise, she’ll be treated as a team member.I’ll travel as the video coach, she said. That means I’ll participate in the opening and closing ceremonies as a team member, and stay in the Olympic Village.For the last four years, Scott has been a member of the U.S. national team, which qualified for the Sydney Olympics. But while the U.S. team has 15 members, Olympic rules only permit 13 players on a team. Somebody had to be left home.Coach Guy Baker decided to make Scott the video coach, meaning that she will film all of the team’s games. And in terms of how she’s treated at Sydney, the coach designation makes all the difference.Alternates don’t stay in the Olympic Village, Scott said. It was great of the coach to do this, so I could be treated as part of the team.Scott was one of the pioneering group that began girls’ water polo at BHS at a time when there were few girls’ programs in the state. That meant traveling outside the state and sometimes outside the region for competition.The focus was on life lessons and having fun, she said of the BHS club program under the direction of Steve Killpack.The focus changed, though, when she went to San Diego State University, which was just getting its varsity women’s program under way.It was a lot harder in college because they require more out of you in terms of time and discipline, she said. It’s your main focus, and everything else comes second, including studying.In between college seasons, Scott played on the junior national team. After playing in the world championships in 1996, Scott joined the national team. And after she used her college eligibility, the national team became her principal focus, which made the sport more fun again for her.You’re striving for your goals together. You choose to be there, which was not the feeling she said she had in college.As a player, Scott’s focus has always been defense, where her six-foot-plus frame is an advantage. At BHS and through much of college, she played goalie. On the national team, she is what’s called the two-meter guard on defense.I guard the other team’s hole player, sort of like a center in basketball, she said, explaining that in most offensive schemes, the team with the ball will post a hole player in front of the net. Teams work the ball into the hole player either for a shot or a pass out to an open player.I’m usually matched up against the other team’s biggest person, she said. My arm reach and leg strength help me get better defensive position.Scott believes the Americans have an excellent chance in the Sydney games. Over the Fourth of July weekend, the American team won a six-team tournament in Los Angeles.All of the teams involved had qualified for the Olympics, including Australia and Holland, two of the favored teams.Our coach said after the tournament that whichever team improved the most between the tournament and the Games would win, Scott said.The 24-year-old Scott plans to stick around for one more Olympiad. In addition to training with the team, she will continue to work with Killpack, who she says is both a personal coach and a mentor.I’d like to finish my goals, go to the Olympics and bring home a gold, she said.Being on the national team makes it somewhat easier for a player to concentrate on her sport, she said, because the U.S. Olympic organization provides housing at the training facility in Los Alamitos, Calif., together with a small stipend.The support depends on how you do, she said. If you’re in contention for a gold, you get money. If you come home with a silver, you failed.Scott and the team leave for Sydney on September 4, and will be gone almost a month. And while she would rather be playing, she’s glad to be part of the endeavor.The team is like my family, she said. I’m happy to go and support them and do what I can. I know they would do it for me. “

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