Training is complete, bags are being packed, Canberra Water Polo Academy is heading to New Zealand. With 12 teams and over 90 athletes, coaches and officials, this the largest contingent Canberra Water Polo Academy has ever sent to the Pan Pacific Youth Water Polo Festival. Preparations began over 12 months ago with training and the initial information meeting and since then athletes have trained extremely hard to get to where they are today.
We spoke to coaches and players to get an insight into each individual team and preview what is to come over the next two weeks!
Under 14 Girls and Under 16 Black
Coach: Matt Swarbrick
With the same group of girls playing together for both weeks, this group of talented athletes will look to put into practice technical and tactical strategies against older, more experienced players in the U16s comp. They will then look to have strong results in the U14s competition, playing against teams their own age.
The team has plenty of fire in attack and will be extremely tight in defence and after months of training and most being involved with U14 ACT representative duties the team’s cohesion will be of the highest standard.
A lot of the girls are on their first trip away and are looking forward to new competition and experiencing a Water Polo tournament for the first time.
U14 Boys and U16 Black
Coach: Lawson Waser
Like the girls, the U14 boys will look gain valuable experience playing in the older age group. They will then look to implement systems practiced the first week when playing against teams of their own age. The boys have a consistent team across the pool and will look to use this to their advantage.
The boys are also looking forward to seeing a rugby game at Eden Park, which is one of the most famous Rugby grounds in the world.
U16 Boys Blue
Coach: Simon O’Connor
The CWPA U16 Blues will arrive in New Zealand as a team, united with the goal not just to compete but to triumph over expectations.
After months of intense training, results have already been noted in the way the team works together in defence and looks for opportunities in attack. We’ve placed a real focus on mounting a strong defence that can neutralise the centre forward and force shots from weaker areas. In attack, ball security and dynamic drives are critical to getting the ball into the back of the net.
The team’s diversity in skills and strengths provide the flexibility to mount an effective defence and a dynamic attack. Anchoring the team in attack will be centre forwards Lewis and Josh. Drivers Jaron, Pat Mac, Jordy and Foley (who’ll be team mascots sporting all the latest CWPA fashions), Nicky C, Nick M, Deion, Lach and Riley will be tearing up the defence. And Dom and Tom will head off shots in goals.
Not afraid of the competition, these boys are ready to step up. Watch out for them in Auckland.
Coach: Melissa Taylor
The girls are looking to get the full experience of playing in a high level competition and developing individual skills. They will look to play to their strengths whilst developing their weaknesses. With an emphasis on having fun and learning the girls will have a fantastic a trip and gain invaluable knowledge and experience from the tour.
They are looking forward to the adventure activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping and luging.
U16 Girls Blue and U18 Girls Blue
Coach: Ryan McDermott
Both teams should have great success over the two weeks of competition. The teams have a fantastic balance with no real weaknesses in any position. The girls will look to focus on defence and to keep control of the game. They will then look to build pressure in attack and look to convert opposition mistakes into steals and goals.
We are looking for the girls to come together and play as a team to make sure we are able to play to our strengths and secure the results we deserve. The girls are also looking forward to the cultural experience, making new friends and having fun in and out of the pool.
U20 Girls and U18 Boys Black
Coach: Dragan Bakic
The U18 Boys will look to gain valuable experience playing against older and more experienced opposition. Their skill base will grow and they will be able to experiment and fine tune tactical systems to gain a better understanding of high level Water Polo.
The U20 Girls is one of the strongest teams CWPA has ever sent. With plenty of Australian National League, American Collegic and National Championships experience this team is sure to place high in the competition. With strengths in every position and plenty of experience the U20s team will look to play to their strengths and nullify their oppositions.
U18 Boys Blue and U20 Boys
Coach: Matt Turnbull
Both Men’s teams are sure to do well with many of the players being in National League squads, Australian Junior or Country experience and ACT representation, these teams are sure to do well. With months of preparation the team will look to play well as a unit in defence and convert opportunities in attack.
For many these will be their last Pan Pacs so they are looking to make the most out of the experience at make lasting memories and friendships.
Make sure to keep tuned on Facebook for live updates of results, interviews and daily videos to keep everyone up to date.