Hannah Anderson has been swimming on a team since she was 5. She first trained with a club and later joined the Gig Harbor High swimming and diving and water polo teams when she was a freshman.
Anderson tried out as a goalie for the water polo team when another student recommended it.
“When I really want something, I go for it,” Anderson said. “I knew they needed a goalie, and I pushed for that and stuck with it.”
Anderson has since fallen in love with the sport and has been an integral part of a three-time state-winning team.
“There’s something different about our team,” she said. “We love each other, and there’s a connection beyond water polo. The coach (Mike Kelly) is a leader, and he’s able to connect with the players and help us connect as a team.”
Anderson said winning a state championship for the fourth year in a row would be a senior’s “dream come true,” but she knows it will take a lot of hard work.
Training for the teams requires major time commitment. Anderson spends more than 20 hours a week in the water, six days a week. Although athletics take up most of her spare time, Anderson also has dedicated time to activities such as the school’s speech and debate team, and she’s volunteering for the Narrows Aquatic Association.
She has been described as a quiet leader who leads by example and with joy and hope.
“Hannah’s tender heart and creative mind helps her bring this joy and hope to those she meets regardless of circumstances,” Gig Harbor High School teacher Phyllis Payne said. “It may be in the classroom or in the community. Hannah leaves a mark that others can hold on to, believing that there is good in today and more for tomorrow.”
Anderson’s 3.9 grade-point average reflects her motivation to work hard and “not slack off.”
“I take pride in my academics,” she said. “I’ve tried to not only excel in the water but do well in school.”
Anderson plans to pursue a career in medicine, and she’s considering following her father’s footsteps to become an anesthesiologist.
“I’ve grown up watching him grow his career and listening to his stories,” she said. “I’ve developed an appreciation for it, and I want to carry that tradition.”
The schools of her choice don’t have a water polo team, but Anderson hopes to continue playing for a club in the future.
Education: Senior, Gig Harbor High School
Parents: Tami and Eric Anderson
Activities and achievements: Water polo varsity goalie, All-America team, first team all-Narrows League, second team all-state, Most Valuable Defensive player, “Coaches Award,” team captain; swimming/diving team captain, competitor at league and district meets; eight AP/honors classes; speech and debate superior award; Narrows Aquatic Association volunteer
Favorite teacher: Phyllis Payne, AP calculus. “She has taught me to enjoy life and appreciate the little moments. Her smile never waivers, and her kindness is shown daily.”
Best thing about high school: “Its original minds make coming to school a unique experience every day. ... So many one-in-a-million-type people that are kind and make GHHS feel like home.”