Abbotsford's Alexa Tielmann was the third-leading scorer on the UCLA Bruins water polo team as a freshman. Her UCLA squad won bronze at the NCAA championship.

Abbotsford's Alexa Tielmann was the third-leading scorer on the UCLA Bruins water polo team as a freshman. Her UCLA squad won bronze at the NCAA championship.

Tielmann sparkles in Tinseltown, helps UCLA water polo team win national medal

From Abbotsford to Los Angeles, 2012-13 was a year of massive transition for Alexa Tielmann.

From Abbotsford to Los Angeles, 2012-13 was a year of massive transition for Alexa Tielmann.

The 18-year-old Yale Secondary graduate headed south last fall for her freshman year at UCLA, carrying the distinction of being the first Canadian to be recruited by the powerhouse Bruins women’s water polo program.

Tielmann acquitted herself extremely well, making an instant impact in the pool and helping the Bruins to a sparkling 28-7 record and a bronze medal at the NCAA national championship. Along the way, she racked up 29 goals, third-most on the team.

“It was definitely a major adjustment being away from home, in a different country, getting used to university life and a different style of water polo,” said Tielmann, reflecting on her rookie season.

“Our team faced some adversity this year,” she added. “We had several players that dealt with illness and injuries so the freshmen really had to step up. Ending up third overall at the NCAA championships was a great accomplishment . . . overall, I’m really happy with the year.”

Tielmann has represented Canada at youth, junior and senior women’s competitions in recent years, and she’ll expand her international resumé this summer.

As soon as she finishes classes at UCLA, she’ll head to Montreal to the national training centre to prepare for a pair of major events – the FISU world university games (July 6-17 in Kazan, Russia) and the junior world championships (Aug. 18-24 in Volos, Greece).

“We’re definitely hoping to do well,” Tielmann said, looking ahead to those tourneys. “There are a number of us on both teams so that’s good for team development and consistency. I think we can go a long way . . . podium finishes at both tournaments.”