Athlete of the week: Linda Brown, Malibu High School, girls water polo

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Linda Brown, girls water polo player

As the envelope is opened and the name announced seconds later, Malibu High School senior Linda Brown will be sitting at home anxiously awaiting the chosen winner for “costume design” at the 85th Academy Awards on February 24. A devotee of the arts, Brown hopes to pursue a career one day in backstage theatre with a focus on set or costume design. 

But before she can relax and enjoy an evening toasting the Oscar winners, Brown has many achievements of her own to celebrate as her brilliant high school water polo career enters its final stages. The four-year letterman has been a stabilizing force for MHS, employing her considerable skills on offense and defense to help the Sharks win three consecutive league titles. 

“It’s been incredible. It’s something that I never thought would happen,” Brown said. “It’s been amazing to be a part of it. It’s important to keep that tradition up if we can.” 

As of press time, Malibu entered this week tied with Carpinteria at 7-1 in the Tri-Valley League. Games against Oaks Christian this past Monday and Wednesday would determine if Brown could “four-peat” in the pool. 

“To get that fourth one to just finish my career off as a water polo player would mean everything to me,” Brown said with excitement. “I want to leave this pool and these girls with this last one. Hopefully, they will get inspired to keep moving on and keep winning league after us.” 

Brown, 17, leads Malibu with 81 goals and 70 steals on the season. She has also contributed 26 assists and drawn 15 ejections. Brown racked up six goals in last week’s 16-2 win against Nordhoff on senior day. 

The Sharks, ranked No. 5 in CIF Division VI, will only go as far as Brown and teammate Jenny Hill- Carta take them. Brown, a first-team all-league selection last season, plays the position of driver, using her powerful arm and pinpoint accuracy on offense. She also takes pride in her defense, the side of the pool where, as they say, championships are usually won or lost. 

“I always want to make sure the defense is strong before I have to play offense. A strong team is about having a strong defense,” Brown said.

Malibu Coach Meredith Butte admires Brown’s commitment to excellence day in and day out. Butte counts herself lucky to have a player such as Brown as a pillar of strength in her first two seasons at the helm for the Sharks. 

“Linda is a really great player to not only coach but to watch. She puts out a lot of effort every practice,” Butte said. “She comes every single day and plays like she is a freshman trying to start on the varsity team. She never comes in thinking she is the best player but works to be the best player. I admire her for that.” 

While Brown attempts to lead Malibu to another league title, she will be eagerly anticipating the Academy Awards show during the next few weeks. Brown shared her choices for picture of the year and costume design. 

The envelope please. 

“For picture of the year, I enjoyed ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ My favorite was ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ but it wasn’t nominated. For costume design, I want ‘Anna Karenina’ to win but you can’t go wrong with ‘Les Miserables’ either.” 

Brown describes herself as “eclectic and alternative” with a passion for theatre, cinematography, photography, music, dance, sculpture, drawing, painting, acting and singing. She recommends “Spamalot,” “The Book of Mormon” and “Wicked” as plays to see. 

Next fall it’s off to the University of Oregon, where Brown intends to major in the digital arts program and product design. 

Brown’s impact on the MHS girls water polo program and on her coach has been a lasting one, said Butte, who described how Brown “came into her own last year.” 

“This year, it’s been a pleasure to see her grow into a great player,” Butte added. “She is constantly looking for something to get better at. Right away you see results. It’s nice to see. She is such a good girl.”