Rade Joksimovic ’20 was selected to the All-America Second Team
Photo: Alan Storey
Rade Joksimovic ’20 was selected to the All-America Second Team, the third time he has received All-America recognition.
Making a Big Splash
by Alexander Diegel

In lots of ways, Rade Joksimovic ’20 is your average college student-athlete. He balances class and academic time with a busy water polo schedule and tries to find some time to hang with friends in between. And he’s still pondering what he wants to do when he graduates. The difference is the Bison water polo co-captain may be taking his talents to the professional ranks — or even the Olympics.

Joksimovic already experienced international glory, training for six years before college with the Serbian National Team, and still has a year to add to his tallies in the Bucknell record books. By the time he graduates, he should be the school’s top scorer. After 208 points this past season — fourth-most in a single season in school history — the Serbian-born economics major became only the second Bison water polo player to record more than 500 points.

Yet for all the individual accolades, it’s his team’s success as a unit that brings him the most pride. Bucknell took a young team to the Middle Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championship game this November, losing to George Washington, 12-11, in overtime. Joksimovic likes to think it was the improved team chemistry that he and his co-captain, Cooper Dolan ’20, achieved that led to the surprise run to the finals.

It’s both the tangible athletic talent and intangible ability to connect with teammates as a leader that may give Joksimovic a chance to take his play to the next level. But when he leaves Bucknell next May with an economics degree, he will have plenty of other options beyond athletics.

Last summer he interned as a sales representative for Adobe, which has led to a second internship this summer, and perhaps a full-time job after graduation. When not balancing his time between the pool and classroom, Joksimovic often reflects on how he got to Bucknell.

One major factor was his Bucknell water polo coach, John McBride. When McBride learned Joksimovic was considering Bucknell, he advocated hard for the player whose admission was delayed by the gap year he dedicated to his Serbian National Team duties.

“It sounds cheesy, but [McBride] has literally single-handedly changed my life from a kid back in Serbia whose only escape was water polo,” says Joksimovic. “He really helped me by giving me a chance to come to Bucknell. I’m really grateful for the situation that has been presented to me.”

Instant Replay
Greatest career highlight
Joksimovic loves when seniors “tell me they had the most fun playing water polo, and they saw a connection with everyone on the team — that they really enjoyed playing and practicing.”
Off the Court
You can get caught up in your Bucknell life and lose yourself in it, says Joksimovic. “My family [in Serbia] is the most important to me, and I talk to them very often.”
Balancing the Classroom and the Pool
Sometimes the demands of training and schoolwork overlap. Joksimovic may skip rehab in the cold tub so he can focus on an assignment.
Lessons Learned in the Pool that Spill into the Classroom
Joksimovic advises not to be afraid “on the court, in the pool or in the classroom. You want to strive to be better and learn more.”