Alumni Stories

Johnny Hooper, Class of 2009

Johnny Hooper ’09 is a four-time All-American and played water polo at Harvard-Westlake and Cal. He went on to play on the USA’s Men’s Water Polo Team in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Q: When did you start playing water polo and why did you choose that sport?

A: I tried out for my first polo practice in the third grade. I was a surfer and junior lifeguard beforehand. Water has always been a part of my life since a very young age. I met my first coach at 10 and under, Brian Flacks, who ended up staying with me through every age group and all the way through to Harvard-Westlake. Flacks coached me on multiple national teams. I’m a super competitive person at heart, so when you start winning, you want to keep winning. I stuck with it, kept going to see how far I can take water polo .

Q: What does full-time training look like for you?

A: We train 5-6 days a week. I wake up in the morning usually around 6 AM. We get in the gym at 6:30, and we train until 9:00 AM in the weight room. We do a lot of cardio and weightlifting. Then we head off to the pool and have practice usually until about 12:00 PM. We’ll have lunch and a meeting watching film. Then we get back in the pool until 2 PM – 6 PM.

Q: Who is your role model?

A: My mom is my role model. She taught me how to be a good person. I want success not just for me but for all my friends as well.

Q: What makes Village special for you?

A: It’s a great community. It instilled in me good values and prepared me well for Harvard-Westlake. It taught me humility, family. Village is where it all started.