UC San Diego men’s water polo senior Arman Momdzhyan will lead the Tritons into the Western Water Polo Association Championship tournament as the No. 2 seed this weekend at UCSD’s Canyonview Aquatic Center. A 2017 first-team All-WWPA selection, Arman has recorded a team-high 53 goals, including 11 hat tricks. He finished the regular season tied for third in goals scored in the conference, and has twice been named WWPA Player of the Week. We caught up with Arman for the latest Triton Q&A to discuss how he began playing water polo, what it was like growing up in Glendale and the celebrities he admires most.
Q: What are your thoughts on the season to this point?
Arman: It’s definitely been an exciting season. It’s kind of surreal that it’s coming to an end because I’ve been playing for 13 years now. I’m really happy with how it’s going and the personal accolades wouldn’t have happened without my teammates. I praise my coaches and trainers. It’s a team sport and we’ve come a long way since the start of the season. We’re going to show people what we’ve got this weekend.
What was it like growing up in Glendale and attending LA Valley College?
Arman: Back home is a different dynamic than San Diego. I was kind of a quiet kid in high school. I pretty much just played water polo and that’s it. When I came to San Diego, it was a big step. More eyes were on me and it’s a bigger stage. Junior College was fun. I think it’s where I was molded the most as a player. I had a lot more responsibility compared to high school, and I feel it prepared me for UC San Diego.
How did you begin playing water polo?
Arman: My dad runs a pool construction company and runs a pool-cleaning business as well. I was a big kid at nine-years-old, probably about 40 pounds overweight. My dad was constructing a communal pool in Glendale, and one of the coaches from the YMCA came and said I should come out and start swimming. Usually you stick with swimming for six months before playing water polo, but after two weeks they said, ‘I think he’s ready to go.’
Why did you choose to major in human development and what do you like about it?
Arman: In junior college, I was on a path to major in kinesiology but we don’t have that major here. Human development is more research-based psychology with a little bit of biology. It’s a degree you can expand into a lot of different fields with. The hardest part is just balancing everything. Also the psychology aspect is a lot harder than I expected.
What do you enjoy most about attending UC San Diego?
Arman: It’s nice out here. On my recruiting visit, I was blown away by the beautiful campus and the beach being a five-minute walk from where I was staying. The people are a lot nicer than L.A. It’s an amazing community of people who want the best for you and give you good connections outside of college.
If you could go anywhere for vacation, where would you go?
Arman: It’s got to be somewhere tropical, like Hawaii or Bora Bora. I’m a huge fan of the water, obviously.
Do you have a celebrity crush and or a celebrity you would like to meet?
Arman: I’d like to meet Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal). I think he’s the most interesting person. He’s comical and he was an animal when he was in the (NBA). I think I would have good conversations with him. My celebrity crush is Kate Upton, she’s my dream girl. She’s just beautiful.
Who’s your favorite athlete?
Arman: Kobe Bryant. He’s my guy, that winning mentality. People look at me to score the ball and be that guy in the clutch, and Kobe was always that guy. I looked up to him growing up.
Who’s your favorite music artist?
Arman: I really like Russ and Kid Cudi. They’re lyrical geniuses. I listen to a little bit of Mac Miller as well. I’m a big rap fan.
What’s your favorite thing to watch?
Arman: The Office. I think I’ve seen it 10 times all the way through.
What’s your favorite fruit?
Do you prefer watersports or outdoors activities?
Arman: I would say outdoors stuff like camping and hiking. I’m not a big fan of the ocean because I hate sharks. Also my family went out camping a lot when I was younger. I like fishing and I’m an outdoors type of guy.
Do you prefer pizza, burgers or taco shop?
Arman: Taco shop. I like the taco food trucks out in L.A.
Thoughts on this weekend’s WWPA Tournament?
Arman: We’ve been working hard and our objective is to just take it one game at a time. You can’t underestimate your opponent because any team can be beat on any given day. We’ve been focusing on getting off to a good start because it’s hard playing from behind, especially in a championship-type game. We have to come out strong, have everyone play their role and do what we have to do to get the win.
Previous Triton Q&A Features
11/11/17: Ella Verhees (Women's Cross Country)