Full Name: Alyssa Diacono
Sport/Race: Water Polo
Social Media Handle: @alyssa_diacono
Blog: Adventures with Alyssa
YouTube: Day in the Life
At San Diego State University, she was an NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist and the SDSU Female Student-Athlete of the Year. She was a two-time ACWPC All- American and two-time All-Golden Coast Conference First Team recipient. She was also named to the GCC All-Tournament Team twice. Academically, she earned ACWPC All-Academic Outstanding Team and GCC All-Academic Team accolades all four years. After graduating with her B.S. in Public Health, she played water polo professionally for the University of Western Australia Torpedoes.
When did you first start your sport and/or start coaching?
I started playing water polo when I was 14! I transitioned from being a land sport athlete to a water athlete and never looked back. Water polo has led to so many opportunities for me, and I could not be more grateful! Playing water polo also led to coaching opportunities! I started coaching swim lessons and age group water polo when I was 16 and then moved on to coaching high school water polo when I was 18. Ever since, I would coach during the summer and in my free time!
Where are you training and/or coaching right now?
I am currently training to play water polo overseas in Malta! I will be competing with the club team, Exiles and the Maltese national team. I am so excited to help elevate the sport of water polo on the women's side! I am also cross training for my first marathon in September. As far as coaching, I just wrapped up my first collegiate season as a graduate assistant coach! I'm earning my masters in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Sports Leadership. My goal is to start up a collegiate water polo program.
What motivates you or gets you pumped up?
My biggest motivation is my personal motto- "what doesn't challenge you won't change you" because it reminds me to push my boundaries and do things that may be scary, but worth it in the end! I'm all for a new challenge and it keeps me moving forward! Otherwise, a good playlist and jam session is my ultimate pump up.
What is the best advice you've received?
The best advice I've ever received is to just be yourself and keep smiling. Life is too short to do anything else! Staying true to who you are keeps you focused on your own goals and accomplishments, plus smiling is contagious!
Are there any significant experiences you've encountered as an athlete or coach that have made an impact on you?
Being part of a team, as an athlete and coach has made the biggest impact on me. There is something special about representing more than just yourself. The physical and metaphorical blood, sweat, and tears that you share with your teammates or athletes creates a bond that is so strong. Through the highs, and more importantly the lows, you know you have support and can celebrate all the victories! Another experience that has really special to me is coaching athletes and seeing how far they go either with water polo, or what they do post water polo. It is so rewarding to know that I have an impact on others!
What is your favorite memory as an athlete or coach?
My all-time favorite memory is winning conference my junior year at SDSU. The physical and mental battles that we overcame as a team, plus winning at home was an amazing experience! I will never forget everyone jumping into the pool after we scored, and the sweet rings. It also punched our ticket for the NCAA tournament, which was such an awesome experience in itself.