One day after his Dos Pueblos classmates signed their national letters of intent to continue their athletic careers, it was Ethan Parrish’s turn to put his name on the dotted line.
Parrish officially signed his national letter of intent with Stanford University Thursday at his Santa Barbara home, alongside his parents, Chris and Brittany, and sister, Addison.
“It means a lot to be able to sign in front of my family,” said Parrish, who committed to the Cardinal in July. “They have the best, one of the best, combinations of academics and athletics in the entire country and I think I could see myself doing really well there. It’s going to set me up for the future really well.”
Parrish started playing water polo at a young age. His dad is the former coach of the water polo programs and boys swim team at Dos Pueblos. Parrish said he didn’t think of himself as a good player until he made his first national team in eighth grade.
“There was a tournament in Las Vegas that we went to and that was the first time that I was like ‘I could be good at this sport.’ Ever since then I kind of took off,” Parrish said.
His dad had a different recollection.
“He was on the younger side of the 14-under team and it was the end of club season. He was a little ball hog and he wouldn’t swim past half tank. I told him ‘you need to pick another sport… this one isn’t for you,’” Chris said, jokingly. “After that, he kind of turned the corner… and started passing the ball.”
His family then broke out in laughter.
“I’m not trying to brag or gloat, but I’m probably the most physically coordinated person in our family,” Parrish said – as his sister quickly interjected “He’s a liar!”
Parrish had a stellar career at Dos Pueblos, leading the Chargers to Channel League titles in 2017 and 2018. He has also played on various national teams and at the Junior Pan American Games last summer.
“That has really opened my eyes to what high-level water polo is like,” he said. “That, along with the combination of being able to play internationally, has really set me up with what I think it will be like at higher competition and set me up for pretty much whatever punches could be thrown my way in the water polo aspect.”
Parrish, whose great grandparents also attended Stanford, will be following a similar path as his brother, Blake, who just wrapped up a highly-decorated career for the Cardinal. Blake was a three-time All-American selection and helped lead Stanford to the NCAA Championship match in 2018.
“He’s definitely been very influential in this entire process,” Parrish said of his older brother. “I’ve looked up to him a lot and his experience at Stanford has really influenced my decision as well.”
Any pressure to follow in his footsteps?
“I felt a little bit,” he admitted. “Definitely less so as the years went on – I kind of made a name for myself rather than being Blake’s little brother. He’s been a big factor in why I started, why I kept playing and while I’m so determined to do well in the future.”
Parrish, who will be playing for the Chargers basketball team this winter, is grateful for his experience at DP.
“Two years ago, especially when we weren’t expecting anything and we made it to the CIF finals – that was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had in this sport, if not the coolest,” Parrish said. “I’ve won national championships in Serbia. I’ve won a silver at the Pan American Games, but being able to play with a bunch of my friends that I’ve been playing with forever – and then being able to see our progress throughout the season and ultimately come up with that end goal and almost achieve it… that’s one of the most rewarding processes and one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had playing water polo.”