Gwen Kallmeyer splashes into her senior year

Gillian Reynolds

As she begins her last year of high school, senior Gwen Kallmeyer jumps into the water polo season, a pool of opportunities awaiting her as one of the three captains for the Redwood girls’ varsity water polo team. She has been on varsity all four years of high school and has been playing for Sleepy Hollow Aquatics (SHAQ) water polo since middle school. Kallmeyer found her love for water polo at age 13 when her swim coach suggested she give the sport a try since she was a strong swimmer. Kallmeyer instantly fit into the community. 

“I definitely liked water polo more [than swimming] because swimming is very repetitive. [However, in] water polo, there’s something new going on every game,” Kallmeyer said.  

Kallmeyer is known as a leader on the team who brings a specific level of intensity. She works hard and has the right balance of fun as well as seriousness to her playing. Her skills have grown over the years and Coach Claire Buchanan, who has trained her for two seasons, agrees that her athletic ability and mindset add a lot to the team.

“She’s finding her strength and her patience which is really great to watch. She is an extremely strong and formidable opponent and she is someone [the younger girls] look up to,” Buchanan said.  

Shooting on her teammates, Gwen Kallmeyer winds up for a shot on goal.

Kallmeyer scored an average of four to six points per game last season making her the top goal scorer of the team. Buchanan confidently predicts she will continue to hold that title this season. Kallmeyer also placed fourth in the North coast section of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF/NCS) for the women’s 400Y and placed 12th in Calif. state. Fellow captain and teammate Charlie Wolfert has been playing with Kallmeyer for the past four years, and she has seen her development first hand.

“She has been a great mentor to the beginners. She’s been playing the sport for a long time and has gotten a lot of perspective [and] her knowledge of the game has brought a lot to the team,” Wolfert said.

Wolfert is proud to see where Kallmeyer has ended up and is excited to spend their last season together. 

“Last year we had a scrimmage against [Tamalpais High School and] we had lost to them previously [but this time] we worked really well together and ended up winning. We came through that together, and it was super fun,” Wolfert said. 

Despite her love for the sport, Kallmeyer can’t dismiss the hardships she has faced, such as injuries and difficulties during COVID-19, but she feels that they truly make her and the team stronger, and further drive her passion for water polo. 

“I have a lot of shoulder problems. I’ve always struggled with that and you always have to look out for yourself when you’re injured. I feel like I’ve overcome it and healed my body,” Kallmeyer said.

Kallmeyer has been in the recruiting process for the past year and hopes to play Division I water polo in college. As Kallmeyer’s last year at Redwood begins, she has a lot on her mind, but the water polo community is one that continues to play a big role in her life, both in and outside of high school.

“Being [on] a team is super important [because] you have the ability to work hard together and everyone is working with you. It allows everyone to grow and get better together,” Kallmeyer said.