Varsity co-captain learns to ‘just keep swimming’

Harper Collins dives into 2nd year on girls water polo team


Harper Collins

As the John Paul ll girls varsity goalie prepares for a block, Co-Captain Harper Collins attempts to win a point for her team. Prosper played their first game of the season Aug. 16, against John Paul ll in the Prosper High School’s natatorium. Prosper won 17-0. Photo courtesy of Harper Collins.

After taking a hit to the head from a ball thrown in practice, sophomore Harper Collins found herself benched right at the brink of the season. Since then, Collins has persevered through her concussion and plans to play again Friday, Sept. 30.

“Its been really hard sitting by and watching at the games when you wish you were in the water,” Collins said. “It has taught me to take life one step at a time, slow down and enjoy every minute of it. Don’t take advantage of the good because the bad can really highlight how much you miss it!”

Collins’s teammates have proudly nominated her as co-captain of the varsity girls water polo team after only five months of playing. 

Collins is originally from Alabama, from where she moved to South Carolina. After living there for three years, Collins then moved to Texas, where she would remain. She started swimming at the age of 10, although she just started playing water polo few months ago. 

It’s a team event, but it also becomes very individual, and it becomes isolating after a while,” Collins said. “Water polo was a new change of pace for me.”

She said water polo has “honestly changed (her) life” in the past couple of months.  

“It brought me to a whole new meaning of a team event and a team sport,” Collins said. “And it just brought me to a whole new physical challenge and physical requirement.”

Collins has pushed past both mental and physical boundaries. Water polo helped her overcome limits she didn’t know she could accomplish. 

Harper has a huge positive influence on the team. Her leadership skills are far beyond her years, and she is the most consistent player on the team. I can always count on her for both a boost in morale in the locker room and a boost of speed in the water. The team is lucky to have her.

— Coach Keenan Fogelberg

“One of the things that I’ve learned is to get out of my comfort zone,” Collins said. “And I never thought that I’d be able to do it how I am before.

Water polo has given her an opportunity to connect and have fun with her teammates. 

“The team… just wow,” Collins said. “The team just blows me away, like how hard everyone works and just the dedication and the commitment that each and every person has on the team.” 

Collins expresses deep gratitude for her teammates, and the positive atmosphere they carry with them.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have chosen another team.” Collins said. “The varsity girls never stop having fun. Whether it’s during practice or on the bus rides to meets. We’re all talking, laughing, we’re just talking constantly and cheering each other on.”  

Collins’ goal as co-captain this year is to keep the mood up and motivate the team to remain in the winner’s bracket at districts. 

“We lift each other up,” Collins said. “It’s not really about who’s the leader and who’s not. We all lead each other to where we need to go.” 

Collins works alongside friend and co-captain, junior Kajsa Brinkerhoff.

“She’s funny, she keeps the mood light whenever days are hard,” Collins said, referring to Brinkerhoff. “Something big about being a team captain is definitely keeping your team motivated to keep going and keeping the spirits up.”

For (Collins) being team captain, I feel like that’s a really big achievement for her to take on. Especially when (she’s) only a sophomore.

— Co-captain and junior Kajsa Brinkerhoff

Collins is not only there for her teammates in the water, but is also there for them in life.

“If anyone ever needs to talk to me like I want them to know I’m always here for them,” Collins said. “Just keep swimming, you know? You can always grow from every single thing that you do in life, from the good and the hard times.”