Name: Constantine Kudaba
CAN Fund Recipient Since: 2010
Sport: Water Polo
8th Place at FINA World Championships
Hometown: Port Coquitlam, BC
Horoscope Sign: Taurus
On The National Team Since: 2006
How does being a CAN Fund Recipient make a difference for you?
In one word: comfort. Being able to train at the most elite of level in my sport with a level of financial comfort goes a long way. This is something few amateur athletes experience in Canada. Myself, being in top physical shape these days does have a price tag. Much of the CAN Fund support will go towards my required athletic diet of vitamins, post-workout recovery, supplements and the many meals that go along with it. On top of that, competing at the national championships every year is on my dime. CAN Fund will help greatly in covering the required costs needed in order to best represent my province and hometown.
Think of someone who has impacted your life. Share 3 words on who they are to you:
Thomas Marks – Former National Water Polo Team captain and Olympian – Calm, Cool, Collected
Hard work is what got me to where I am today. However, Thomas was the person who provided others and myself with proper direction and support required to be true, elite athletes as well as ambassadors for the sport of water polo. Like myself, he was from the lower mainland of Vancouver and was a great mentor to those coming to the training centre in Calgary from the west. His leadership in and out of the water was exemplary.
What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome to get to where you are today?
For a sport like water polo, becoming a great, well-known player domestically and internationally are two entirely different things. The talent pool in Canadian water polo allows the better/talented players to compete with the national team caliber players. However, making the jump from a “training centre” athlete to a national team starting player was a tremendous hurdle that took many years (more than an Olympic 4-year cycle) of hard work, determination, and perseverance. This is a hurdle that all starting players have overcome. Only now in my late twenties and tenth year of national team water polo am I starting to be noticed and recognized on the European-centered stage.
How did you get involved in your sport?
Like so many others, I did not start my athletic life in water polo. Few do. From the age of six to sixteen, I was a competitive swimmer for various lower mainland clubs. I wasn’t the greatest, nor was I breaking any provincial records like my little brother who made a habit of it. For me, making the finals at the provincial championships was my goal. I was fast, but never the fastest. Worst of all, my stroke technique ranged from poor to very poor. The one thing that I could do was give so much that eventually others would give up before me. Anyways, after a swim practice in Coquitlam at the age of 14, I was watching children play a type of “fun” water polo in the shallow end. Since water polo was relatively unknown to me and the sign up was free, I joined the team the next year. I wasn’t a true natural to the sport but definitely could compete with the top players in the lower mainland of Vancouver. By my senior year in high school, I was playing over 5 sports at once. I had options to pursue longer careers in football and water polo but decided to become a member of the National Water Polo Team in Calgary under the famed rule of Dragan Jovanovic. Long ago, after watching the national team compete at the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal (I was across town in a Youth Tournament), I thought to myself, ‘I can be better than every one of those players on the team.’ After nearly a decade in polo, I’ve passed them all with exception of our national team captain and former captain: Aaron Feltham and Kevin Graham.
Who is your hero and why?
Terry Fox is and always will be my hero. On top of coming from my hometown of Port Coquitlam, he’s also one of the greatest Canadians in history. This is a man who, “wanted to try the impossible to show it could be done.” He stood for so many admirable qualities that define not only great people, but great leaders as well. As an athlete playing many sports at Terry Fox Secondary in Port Coquitlam, coaches and mentors always made sure that we instilled the Terry Fox spirit in and out of the classroom, on and off the fields, and in and out of the pool. You would hear so many inspiring stories of how he battled through his life and his tremendous battle with cancer. If I could only represent a fraction of Terry’s qualities as an athlete, then I know I’ve achieved one of my greatest goals – inspiring others to follow.
Best advice you have received?
Always get the Prime Rib at the Keg.
Biggest lesson you have learned to get to where you are today?
I’m always going to be tired in life. It’s what you do when everyone else is tired too that makes the biggest difference.
What advice would you give to young kids or teenagers about following their dreams?
Stick to the sport you love. With hard work and perseverance, you will go further than all your peers and find yourself in places you never thought imaginable.
If you weren’t a Canadian athlete you would be…?
There’s no chance I would be anything but an athlete. It is only a question of which sport.
What is your favourite thing about being on the road with your teammates?
It’s the best time to bond and gel together. After all the training day in and day out, the best is relaxing as a team over coffee together. If in Europe, it’s espressos.
What are you favourite places in the world you have visited?
Dubai, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Southern France and Sicily.
What three items do you take with you on every road trip?
Slippers for the hotel, sunglasses to fall asleep on the plane and a book that I never end up finishing.
What are your hobbies?
Recreational sports, hiking, steam room sessions and going out for breakfast.
What is your favourite quote?
“I hated every single moment of training. But I thought to myself, suffer now and live the rest of your life like a champion.” – Mohammed Ali
What is your favourite movie?
What is your favourite book?
The Count of Monte Cristo
What is your favourite tv series?
What is your favourite song to work out to?
For Reverend Green by the Animal Collective
What is the most played song on your ipod?
Teenage Dream by Katy Perry
Do you have any pre-competition superstitions or routines?
Wave to my parents if they’re watching.
What is a healthy snack you eat before or after training sessions?
Banana and chocolate milk for after workouts.
What is your pre-game/pre-competition meal?
Pasta with a little meat.
Do you have a favourite recipe, what is it?
It starts with “P” and ends with “izza”