June 16, 2024

To be a Navy SEAL, you have to be the best of the best. The training is supposed to push you to the limit mentally and physically — and there’s no guarantee of passing muster.

Luc Giroux, 17, welcomes the challenge.

A four-year standout playing goalkeeper for El Segundo High’s boys’ water polo team, his plan is to attend the Naval Academy, become a midshipman, graduate in four years as an officer, then enter SEAL training.

“I’ve seen movies about it,” he said about expectations for being a SEAL.

With a 4.5 grade-point average last school year, Giroux fits the profile of a smart, determined teenager willing to test himself.

That’s what he has done at El Segundo, which finished its water polo season as Southern Section Division 3 champions with a 32-0 record before losing in the Division 2 regionals last week.

“Oh my God, it’s been great,” Giroux said. “It’s been the best experience of my water polo career.”

As the Pioneer League MVP last season and probably this season, the 6-foot-2, 186-pound senior has been the kind of goalie who uses his entire body to deflect shots and inspire others to give their best.

“He doesn’t score but stops a lot of balls,” coach Nila Ward said.

He started playing water polo in fifth grade, giving up soccer, basketball and baseball after a middle school teacher who coached club water polo suggested he give the sport a try. It’s clear once Giroux puts his mind to something, success comes.

He didn’t think of a military career until taking a visit to the Naval Academy last April and “falling in love with the place.”

He has filled out his application and is waiting to be nominated by his Congressman. His rigorous water polo training will certainly help in dealing with future boot camps.

“Just the environment they have at the Naval Academy is the most impactful you can have,” he said. “Everyone is striving to be the best at whatever they’re going to pursue. That’s what I want to do with my life.”

El Segundo joined Division 1 champion JSerra (30-0) as the only unbeaten teams in Southern Section water polo. What would happen if the two teams played?

“Look, I like my team, but JSerra is on another level, and they have Ryder Dodd, an Olympian,” he said. “I definitely would like to go against them.”

The SEAL ethos is something Giroux has been following in sports:

“I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”

El Segundo’s season came to a close Tuesday in a 12-6 regional loss to La Jolla, about 60 miles from SEAL training in Coronado. Expect El Segundo’s finest to one day make a return trip.

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