Dual sport athlete at UCSD follows in dad’s footsteps

SAN DIEGO -- Ciara Franke grew up in La Jolla and has spent a lot of time competing in the pool. At UCSD, the freshman is on both the swim and water polo teams, following in the footsteps of her dad.

Franke's decision to attend UCSD in order to play water polo was a no brainer.

"I really love San Diego," said Franke. "I've grown up here my entire life and just the team atmosphere and the coaches, I loved it all when I came on my recruitment visit."

She compares the game of water polo to the likes of basketball, but in the water. There's an offense and a defense and each goal is worth one point. As a freshman, the biggest difference she's noticed playing at the collegiate level is the team support.

"You have a lot stronger team behind you," said Franke. "Being able to play players off the bench, where as in high school you have your few key players. In college, you have your whole team who can support you."

Her biggest supporter also sits on the sidelines as a coach. Her dad, Randy, was a dual-sport athlete at UCSD and played a water polo goalie for the Tritons in the early 80's.

"It's pretty cool, he's mostly the goalie coach so he's just on the bench helping the goalies but I know that when I turn to the bench I can see him and it really helps me," said Franke.

It's in the same pool that Franke practices water polo, that she also competes on the Triton's swim team, just as her dad did, and although his legacy is already in the books, hers is just beginning.

"He put me in swimming first and then started me in water polo in seventh grade because he wanted me to be able to get the swim background," said Franke. "But I've always looked up to him as a player and a person and so I owe it all to him."

In her first year on the swim team, Franke accomplished two top eight finishes at the NCAA tournament and set two personal records in the 50 and 100 meter swims.  The six-foot-two guard says being a dual-sport athlete is time consuming and between swimming and water polo, she can't choose her favorite.

"I have to balance my time really well," said Franke. "I don't have a lot of free time but its really fun, I love it and it's worth it."