Queensland Women Dominate Australian Teams
Women's Water Polo is thriving in Queensland with 16 athletes about to represent Australia at various levels. The state has had success in recent years medalling at National Championships, including the Brisbane Barracudas taking out the National League Title three (3) years in a row.
Queensland who has the third highest number of registered members in the country behind NSW and WA, is represented on average by 46 per cent of Australian Women's Water Polo Teams. This high number of athletes in Australian Teams is a result of the Queensland Academy of Sport Women's Water Polo Program coached by Aleks Osadchuk and supported by Jack Lusic (Assistant Coach), and the Water Polo Queensland Emerging Athlete Program coached by Nicola Johnson.
Aleks a member of the men?s 2004 Olympic Team and specialist outside shooter has worked with in the women's program after retiring in 2004. Aleks was a member of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Team coaching staff and has been the reason behind 11 Queensland women?s Olympic success stories and domination at a junior and senior level for Queensland. Aleks has been rewarded by being appointed as the Born 94 Junior Team head coach, and will lead the group on a Olympic Hopeful Tournament in Hungry this July before preparing for the World Championships at the end of the year. The Junior World Championships will be hosted by Australia in Perth where in a first both the men and women?s tournament will run at the same time and city.
The Australian Women's Olympic Team will be captained by duel Olympian and Bronze medallist Queenslander Kate Gynther and be accompanied by half sister, bronze medallist and the most capped female player in Australia Melissa Rippon. Both Kate and Mel have been members of the Australia Team since 2002 where each year they encourage the youth of our state to bigger and better things. They will be joined in London by 2008 Beijing Bronze medallist Bronwen Knox and first time Olympians Ashleigh Southern, Jane Moran and Sophie Smith.
Ashleigh the youngest member of the Women's Olympic Team is a story proving if you persist and have a dream you will reach the stars. Ashleigh born in Ingham and lived in Cardwell first represented Queensland as a 10 year old in the 14 & Under State Team. Her success at this young age saw her travel regularly to Townsville to play and train, before moving to Brisbane in 2010 when she received a Queensland Academy of Sport Scholarship. Ashleigh has a silver and bronze medal from Junior World Championships in 2010 and 2011, however hopes to assist the senior team in London to a Gold medal.
While the Olympic Women's Team are at the end of a four year journey to reach Gold in London, the born 94 and 96 Teams are at the start of their international careers. The born 94 Team have World Championships December 2012 in Perth and the born 96 Junior World Championships in 2014. The 10 Youth athletes will be watching their idols closely at the Olympic Games, where they dream to compete at in 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.
Junior and Youth Coaches Aleks Osadchuk and Jack Lusic, believe the speed and dedication of the up and coming athletes in Queensland have what it takes to be a senior international player by 2016. For many 2012 will be their first taste of international Water Polo, and are well prepared for the encounters.
Congratulations to the following Queenslanders and good luck.
Australian Olympic Team
London 27 July - 12 August
Kate Gynther (Captain), Melissa Rippon, Jane Moran, Ashleigh Southern, Bronwen Knox and Sophie Smith
Australia Born 94 Team
European Tour 9 July - 20 July
Tiana Anderson, Megan du Toit, Anisley Masek. Aleks Osadchuk coach, Nicola Johnson referee.
Australian Born 96 Team
Auckland Pan Pacs & Test Series 29 June - 14 July
Octavia Bellekens, Sally Coburn, Christobel Hill-Smith, Georgia Hole, Chloe Parer, Aoife Scales, Ellodie Ruffin. Jack Lusic coach, Helen Park manager.
Australian Men's Team will be announced in the coming weeks.