Yorktown Senior Portrait Project
Matt Mendelsohn Photography
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Not Forgotten: Yorktown Seniors 2020

Yorktown Senior Portrait Project

The Yorktown Seniors of 2020:

Natalie E. I love the joy of this first photo. Natalie is an incredible athlete with a bright future ahead. She’s had to pivot from water polo to swimming to stay in the pool, so to speak. Natalie started at an early age. “My first obstacle was learning how to even stay afloat. Water polo players use a special kind of kick called "eggbeater."

Treading water like that requires coordination and a lot of muscle memory. It took me months to master where I could elevate my body from my waist up out of the water.” Competing for the U.S. Naval Academy Aquatics Club, her team placed 11th in the country out of 96 teams. She was selected for the Northeast Zone Olympic Development Program team four years in a row. “This is the pipeline program for playing on the National Team in the Olympics. From the Olympic Development Program Championships, I was selected to try out for National Team Selection Camp. Only 75 players from the country are chosen each year.”

Then, an unexpected hiccup. “Just before my junior year, the Naval Academy girls team dissolved. My coach left and my team split up. It was a devastating loss but I was determined to still find my place in the water. I pivoted and joined a year-round swim club.” While they both take place in pools, the two disciplines are quite different. “I had never gone through the grueling process of 4:30 am practices, double or triple practices a day.”

But it paid off: she was recruited by Denison University to swim. They have been a top program in NCAA Division III for years and they finished in first place for 2019. Denison is also looking to start a water polo program so there is a possibility I will be able to play again too. I am so happy with the way my whole journey turned out. I couldn't be more excited for the next four years!” Good luck, Natalie E., Yorktown Class of 2020.

Location: Arlington, Virginia.