Being a Dual-Sport Athlete

Matthew Hosmer

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Not many athletes get to turn their dreams into reality, but senior University of the Pacific student-athlete Matthew Hosmer is fortunate enough to be one of them.

On top of living out his dream and being a dual-sport athlete, he also gets to carry on his parents’ legacy as they both were student-athletes at the same institution themselves.

His mother competed for the swim team, while his father played water polo.

Leave it to Hosmer to find the passion, time and dedication to do both.

But make no mistake, being involved in the same sports as his parents and attending the same school was never to follow in their footsteps.

Hosmer has long been encouraged to find his own path ever since he was a child.

Yet, even as a kid, he still somehow fell in love with the same school and sports as his parents.

Maybe it’s fate, or perhaps, it’s something else entirely.

One thing is certain: Hosmer is living a dream come true.

“I’ve always known that University of the Pacific was my favorite school ever since I was a kid. I remember watching the 2013 water polo team play and just being so amazed. I’d come see them play whenever I could because they were just so great,” said Hosmer who is pursuing a Sports Management degree.

“Yes, my dad played water polo as well, but my decision to go that route was never about following his path. And the same goes for my mom in swimming. You know, my parents always wanted me to create my own journey, and the University of the Pacific decision was always my decision. It was never about my parents. It’s always been a dream of mine to come here.”

Making my own path

Only a dream could push someone to becoming a dual-sport athlete while also juggling school at the same time.

Hosmer is pulling off the hat trick of challenges by prioritizing his education and fulfilling his athletic duties with two completely separate sports.

He knew he had a tall task on his hands the moment he decided to take that route, but he’s determined to see it through to the end.

So far, so good for the Stockton native.

“I always knew it was going to be a little challenging, but both programs are very flexible,” said Hosmer.

“They always give me the chance to do what I need to do and focus on my academic responsibilities, too. They know that academics come before athletics. So if I’m ever struggling with anything or I have a lot on my plate, they always give me a lot of leeway to get my stuff done.”

What about burnout?

Even if Hosmer manages to juggle multiple things at once, there’s always a fear of becoming too overwhelmed to the point where something either ends up on the back burner or is thrown away entirely.

There might even be an assumption that playing multiple sports, particularly adjacent sports like swimming and water polo, might turn counterproductive.

But Hosmer disagrees entirely.

In fact, he could make the case that competing in both sports is actually beneficial because they enhance his ability to do the other.

“I would definitely say it doesn’t hurt me at all to do both at the same time. Swimming gets me in better shape for water polo, in my opinion,” Hosmer said.

“The most challenging part about being a dual-sport athlete is sometimes having to miss out on social events with others, you know? I keep in contact with my teammates in the offseason as much as I can, but it’s hard to do that as well when I’m focusing on another sport right after that. And then, obviously, academics are always a challenge. But this is the path I’ve chosen, and it hasn’t changed since my freshman year. So I’m kind of used to it at this point.”

They always give me the chance to do what I need to do and focus on my academic responsibilities, too. They know that academics come before athletics. So if I'm ever struggling with anything or I have a lot on my plate, they always give me a lot of leeway to get my stuff done.

Rebuilding a champion

Hosmer has faced far greater challenges than burnout, including overcoming a national championship loss in 2019. The water polo team made it all the way to the big dance and fell short of victory.

But for Hosmer, who was a freshman at the time, the experience of competing in a championship as one of the two best teams in the country was an achievement in itself.

Even to this day, he still calls it the most defining moment of his career.

“That 2019 national championship is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about a career-defining moment,” said Hosmer.

“That’s the biggest accomplishment that I’ve experienced so far. It took all of us to make it to that point — every single member of the team, along with the entire coaching staff.”

“We didn’t come away with the championship, but we got very, very, very close. We were hoping this past year would be different, but we fell to California in the semifinals. But you know, there was never any loss of motivation after that defeat in 2019. Right when it happened, I went up to Coach James Graham and said, ‘We’ll be back at this game’. I’ve always thought about that to this day.”

Hosmer’s future isn’t set in stone, and he’d rather use his energy focusing on the present with his current team.