Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


My name is Sara Sutherland, and I am a third-year Kinesiology student and assistant captain on the varsity women’s water polo team at the University of Toronto (UofT). I started swimming competitively at age 8, and grew up playing tennis, squash, volleyball, basketball, and field hockey. I competed in swimming with the Regina Optimist Dolphins swim club both nationally and internationally. Swimming was always my passion. In high school I began playing water polo as well. The technical skills and team aspect are what really drew me to pursue water polo at the national level, training and competing with Team Saskatchewan. In my senior year of high school, Team Saskatchewan 19U Women won the National Championship League Final in May 2018 in Montreal, Quebec. It was a very exciting way to end my high school career and transition to collegiate water polo at the University of Toronto. In my career at UofT, we have all undefeated seasons in the Canadian League, winning the National Collegiate Water Polo (NCWP) League Championship Title in December 2018 and December 2019. In my first year I was awarded a spot on the NCWP all-star team in December 2018 and led our team in goals for the season. Every winter season the UofT Blues water polo team travels to New York, Chicago, and California to play Division I and II NCAA schools, making our competitive season last year-round. With the COVID-19 pandemic, I am currently at home training in Regina with my home club, Team Saskatchewan.

What inspired you to participate in sport? 


My mom and dad inspire me to participate in sport. They have always encouraged me to give my all in everything I do and to never let adversity hold me back. My parents have played a huge role in every sport I have played, as they helped with a lot of administrative work with most of the clubs that I have been involved with. My parents are co-founders of the Junior Squash club in Regina – the Queen City Junior Squash Academy. They travel to courts all over Saskatchewan to encourage youth and adults to try out squash and have kick-started leagues in smaller communities. They have also promoted the “Girls in the Game” initiative, offering free squash lessons every week for young women in Regina.

What are ways you demonstrate being an inclusive teammate or ally? 


As the assistant captain for the UofT Women’s Water Polo Team I ensure that everyone on the team feels included, supported, and has a voice. One of my teammates and I have recently begun the University of Toronto: Women in Sport Club. The goal of our club is to promote and recognize athletic and academic achievement of all student-athletes that identify as female at the University of Toronto. The club promotes all levels of athletics including club sports, intramurals, varsity, and student-athletes who compete for teams outside the University of Toronto. We strive to create a safe, inclusive, supportive, and welcoming environment for all female student-athletes at the University of Toronto and to provide members with the resources they need to be successful in their academic, athletic, and professional careers.

What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females? 


I believe that to improve sport for females, we need to have female leadership and empowerment from within sport communities. Women should be treated as equals in coaching roles, administrative roles, and training environments. Having supportive, powerful, and welcoming women in sport will encourage all girls to participate in sport and provide them with an everlasting sense of community.


What is a quote that motivates you? 


A quote that motivates me is one by Serena Williams:

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”


Instagram: @_sarasutherland