Like many aspirations, Olympic dreams were put on pause in 2020. That holds true for current Sun Devil Bente Rogge, who now has the opportunity to live out those dreams in 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, Rogge opted to forego her junior season with the Arizona State water polo team in order to train for the Olympics with the Dutch national team. The Netherlands won the water polo gold medal at Beijing in 2008, but didn’t qualify in 2012 or 2016. They’re competing in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, after qualifying in January. Rogge will play in her first Olympics with pride for her country and a desire to fulfill a dream.
Bente Rogge 🤝 Olympic Devil 😈
— Sun Devil Water Polo (@SunDevilWP) February 23, 2021
Return to ASU
A year and a half after leaving Tempe to pursue her Olympic dream, she’s back to play with the Sun Devils once again.
“They’re my second family, and I was scared it wasn’t going to feel that way,” Rogge said when describing what changes she was anticipating following her year and a half abroad. “But honestly after the first week or so it just felt like old times.”
The Netherlands native is rediscovering her role within the program. She’s a key component to the defense and communicative on offense. Her leadership and Olympic-level skillset is helping ASU in the water, who are 6-3 to open the season.
Head coach Todd Clapper notices the growth of maturity in the water and around her teammates, something that he says is immeasurable.
“It may be cliché, but you go away for a year and a half and you’re also training at that level and competing at that level, there’s a different level of maturity,” Clapper said.
Rogge says training with the national team is different than training at ASU and it can be stressful at times. But she credits that effort with preparing her for the Olympics and now she’s using her time in Tempe to work on her game while having fun. Her coaches in the Netherlands are giving her drills and skills to work on and coach Clapper wants to help her in any way that he can. This is nothing knew for him, as current teammates Blaire McDowell and Alison Cameron are eyeing Olympic feats with team Canada.
“I’m excited for the Olympics,” Rogge said. “But I’m excited to be back here to enjoy the game again and have some fun.”