Amelia Portin is a top-goal producer for her high school team, Auburn Mountainview, and leads her touring team, Northwest Water Polo Club. She’s also a member of the Olympic Development Program’s Northwest Zone team and a USA Water Polo Academic All-American. COURTESY PHOTO

Amelia Portin is a top-goal producer for her high school team, Auburn Mountainview, and leads her touring team, Northwest Water Polo Club. She’s also a member of the Olympic Development Program’s Northwest Zone team and a USA Water Polo Academic All-American. COURTESY PHOTO

She’s at the center of the action

Portin shines in local, national water polo

Teens with big-play dreams have a basketball court in the driveway at home or a spacious back yard to hone their skills.

Amelia Portin has a lake.

It’s her open-water sanctuary, a place to work out, a go-to spot for others to occasionally drop by for a pickup game of water polo.

To recreate her game of choice, Portin has turned her share of Lake Meridian into a 25-meter-long water polo course, lined and marked with string, rope and floating noodles and replete with nets.

“I love it. It’s my favorite part of summer, pretty much getting tanned and playing,” said Portin, a standout player at her high school, Auburn Mountainview, and captain of her year-round travelling team, Bellevue-based Northwest Water Polo Club.

A swift swimmer who holds a pair of records in the pool at Auburn Mountainview, Portin took up water polo at age 6 and hasn’t looked back.

Today she is one of the state’s top junior-level players, a maturing 5-foot-7 center who shines in a growing, spartan sport. Playing front and center of the opposing goalkeeper, Portin scores routinely against some of the region’s best competition. She also looks to distribute the ball to her teammates.

Humble and good natured, Portin enjoys the physical, rugged nature of the game. It is her passion, a sport she hopes to take to the collegiate level, where some Division I schools have inquired about her all-around skills.

“I like to win and being around a good team and contributing to being a part of a good team,” said Portin, 16, a member of the Olympic Development Program’s Northwest Zone team, and a USA Water Polo Academic All-American. “I like the team atmosphere. Swimming is really an individual sport. In water polo I made a lot of new friends, learned a lot about myself and how I can contribute.”

Portin and her club recently finished second in a regional tournament in Gresham, Ore. The club frequently travels throughout the region, including Canada, for matches.

As a representative of the PNW Zone team, Portin recently matched up against top players in a national championship tournament appearance in Pleasanton, Calif., where she earned the Nick Johnson Inspiration Award for her impactful performance. The award recognizes those players who embody the vision and values of the Olympic Development Program.

“The competition was incredible. The players are so much better than I’ve ever seen before,” Portin said of the visit to northern California. “It was a good learning experience.”

As for the award?

“I felt really humbled and really blessed,” she said.

What makes Portin a special player is difficult to describe.

“I wish I knew because if I could bottle it and spell it, I’d be rich,” said her mother, Roselle. “She’s got great patience and grace and perseverance. … She’s a great captain, a leader. Rather than take an open shot and the glory, she will pass it off to others to share in the scoring.”

Portin is busy this spring. A junior, she is part of a Lions water polo program looking to make the state field, something it narrowly missed out on last season.

She will turn her attention to competing with her team at the Junior Olympics this summer at Huntington Beach, Calif.

No matter what the competition brings, Portin tries to maintain her poise and focus. Under the surface, the game can be violent, with players exchanging blows from elbows, knees and hands. Portin makes sure she doesn’t retaliate in the battle for position and in the fight to pass and shoot the ball. Her spot in the pool, center, or “hole set,” is a basketball-like post-up position where the ball comes in and goes out, attracting plenty of attention from the defense.

The center spot is a hub of activity requiring quick thinking and composure. She also can play the utility role.

“I credit that to my background, my faith,” said Portin, who grew up in the Seattle Christian school system before enrolling at Auburn Mountainview her freshman year.

Portin, an honor student, would like to pursue a career in childhood education, maybe special ed.

Roselle’s daughter is emerging right along with the sport.

“It’s relatively new and it’s growing,” Roselle said. “It’s really moving up from California through Oregon and Washington and over to Idaho. You can see the progression. It’s really been exciting to watch it grow. It’s a phenomenal sport.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Ron Capps’ funny car was on display outside the Muckleshoot Casino and Hotel. Ben Ray / Sound Publishing
For the first time in NHRA history, Pacific Raceways hosts night race

Three-time event winner Ron Capps talks to fans and media before Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.

t
Too hot to play sports? High temps challenge Kent Parks Department

Four days of events canceled July 6-9 at Wilson Playfields where surface temps soared to 120 degrees

Gio Moimoi drives to the basket for Kentridge. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Summer league spotlight: Kentridge and Kentwood boys hoops

“It has been a night and day difference from year one to now.”

Photo provided by Rodney McCurry.
Seattle Majestics play in postseason

Seattles women’s tackle football team goes to Las Vegas to open up the playoffs.

Skylar Diggins-Smith conducts the offense against the Sparks. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Storm pour it on in the fourth, wash out Sparks

Seattle used a huge 10-0 run late in the fourth to take control over Los Angeles.

Federal Way Memorial Field. Photo provided by Bruce Honda
Federal Way Memorial Field to host high school boys soccer tournaments

Class 2A, 1A competitions to move to Federal Way from Renton for 2025 to 2028

2024 Kent Reporter Athletes of the Year are Ella Wick and Ethan Loghry. Pictured left to right: Kent Reporter sports writer Ben Ray, Ella Wick, Ethan Loghry, and Brian Smith, Kent School District Director of Athletics and Activities. Photo provided by ROBBY MULLIKIN
Kent School District and Kent Reporter’s 2024 Athletes of the Year

Kentlake’s Ethan Loghry and Ella Wick take home top awards.

Kentwood and Kentridge players go at it for possession. Ben Ray / The Reporter
NPSL All-League Soccer Teams: Kentwood’s Logan Hasting is POTY

Other Kent School District athletes make the list.

Hazen’s Illia Biezak leaps over the bar. Ben Ray / The Reporter
State track and field: Liberty boys, Kent-Meridian girls place inside top four in 3A

Cassie Atkins (FW) continued to dominate, has now won five titles in three years.

t
Auburn Riverside softball wins state championship

Ravens win first fastpitch title in school history.

Steve Raible auctioning off a Seahawks football from 1983.
Seahawks legends inspire South King County youth at breakfast

Scholar-Athlete Breakfast in Auburn features Steve Largent and Steve Raible.

Sofia Mottern-Salinas gives a yell after getting the rally going against North Creek. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood fastpitch rallies at state, but misses out on trophy

Kentwood went 2-2 in the state tournament, falling to Emerald Ridge and Puyallup on final day.