Twin sisters Alex and Josie Andrist of Estevan have starred in water polo for years, and now they have taken their talents to another level in Regina.
Alex is in her second year of competing with Premier Academy at Martin Collegiate, while Josie is in her first year with the program. The academy is for top student-athletes who are looking to advance in their sports.
This year has been different, Alex said, because she spent more time in school last year and the training was more rigid. And she didn’t have her sister with her, either. Now that Josie is there, they can share responsibilities.
Being in Regina makes it much easier to do their training, and they get more practices and training to help them improve.
“If we were in Estevan, the training would be a lot more distant and separated,” said Alex. “We’d have days where we wouldn’t do anything. In Regina, we practise almost every single day, and we have weights on Thursdays and Fridays.
Coaches in Regina are very knowledgeable and they love the game. They understand how to help the athletes develop. One of those coaches, Rachel Krieger, played Division 1 water polo in California.
“She’s very good and she has a lot of advice to give us,” said Alex.
Competitions at the start of this year are in a mini-league with the other 14-19-year-old swimmers in Regina. They were placed on different rosters for games, giving the athletes incentive for the season.
“We play the sport to play the games, and it’s good that we actually have some games to look forward to, rather than just practices,” said Alex.
Josie said playing in Regina has been very different because there are set times for practices, and there’s more time in the water. It helps that her sister is there.
“School is a lot different, too, because for starters, Martin’s a lot smaller than the Comp. (Estevan Comprehensive School) and it doesn’t have as many trades. It’s officially a sports school, so you get to do less of your hobbies and more of your sport.”
And while it’s great to have her twin sister there, Josie admits there is a sibling rivalry between the two, which pushes her.
Josie is looking forward to the games, because that’s why they’re in the sport.
Both sisters praised the Estevan Sharks water polo club for helping with their development and allowing them to find their love for the sport.
“The Sharks really were a good starting point,” said Alex. “Starting in Estevan was a lot easier than starting in Regina. There was a lot more flexible training times.”
Without the Sharks, Josie said they wouldn’t be in Regina now.
“Last year, it was their training that helped me keep up with everyone else, so the Sharks were really good. I love the Sharks,” said Josie.
Now when Josie goes to the pool for a lane swim, and she sees the Sharks, she reflects on her time with the club, and how far the program has advanced.
And Josie points out they’re not the first from Estevan to go to Regina for water polo. Ethan Elliott, Cameron Gillingham and Mikayla and Taeghan Hack also played the sport in the Queen City. But their families moved to Regina, while the Andrists are billeting.
The sisters hope to secure scholarships to go to university, and to compete at higher levels, and they hope that water polo could also help them with their careers once they’re finished school.