GW's Ridvan Pehlivan Competes at European U-19 Water Polo Championships
Sophomore Helped Turkey to 12th-Place Finish
Oct. 2, 2012
WASHINGTON - While most George Washington students were returning to Foggy Bottom for the start of the 2012-13 school year, GW men's water polo sophomore Ridvan Pehlivan was in the South of France competing for his native Turkey at the European Under-19 Water Polo Championships.
"It's always an honor to carry the Turkish flag," Pehlivan said. "I have been on the national team since I was 13, and I am really lucky to have had this chance."
The tournament took place Sept. 2-9 in Canet-en Roussillon, France, a small village on the Mediterranean coast.
"This was my fifth time in France," said Pehlivan, who has traveled all over Europe in his time with the national team. "France is awesome, and Canet-en Roussillon is a beautiful village with great beaches. I loved being there."
Pehlivan helped guide Turkey to a 12th-place finish out of 16 teams at the tournament, where he scored six goals in seven games. His team was 1-2 to place third in Group B with an 11-9 win over Ukraine and losses to Montenegro and Serbia. Following a tough loss to Hungary, Turkey defeated Romania, 10-9, to advance to the 9th-12th-place bracket, before suffering setbacks to Greece and Montenegro to finish 12th.
"It was a great opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world," Pehlivan said. "This was my third European championship, and I can honestly say that these competitions have made me who I am as a water polo player."
Upon his return to Foggy Bottom, Pehlivan made an immediate splash for the Buff and Blue. His first collegiate competition of the season came Sept. 15-16 at the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) North/South Tournament, where he helped the Colonials to a 15-6 victory over Iona, matching his career-high with six goals.
Despite playing in just six contests so far this year, Pehlivan already ranks fifth on the team with 17 goals and third with 11 ejections drawn, and his 2.83 goals-per-game average leads the Colonials.
"He had the best experience he can possibly get playing against some of the top players in the world at his age group - players who are going to be representing their countries at future Olympics," said GW head coach Scott Reed. "It's pretty amazing to have a player on our team be able to get that experience."
A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Pehlivan posted impressive numbers for GW during his rookie campaign in 2011, ranking third on the team with 40 goals and tying for the team lead with 44 ejections drawn. Prior to coming to GW, he was a member of four Turkish national championship teams, serving as team captain of Turkey's Junior National Team in his final season.