Making her Australia team debut, Maisie Newell will tour Europe with the Born 2000 Women’s team as they prepare for the FINA Youth World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Sunshine Coast athlete will play alongside four other Queensland athletes, Abby, Charlize, Kasey and Sophie, as they take on 15 international teams in what is set to be a thrilling competition. We caught up with a very excited Maisie ahead of her European tour.
Congratulations on making the Born 2000 team! How did you find out?
We had a training camp in Sydney, which went for a week and that was also the selection process. We found out the day after we got home camp. I was 110% sure I wasn’t going to get in as all the other girls were amazing, I did not think at all that I had a chance. So when I got the confirmation email, I was so happy, I started crying!
This is your first trip with the Australian team set up, do you have any expectations or are you just keen to learn as much as possible?
Yeah, I know that some people will have to sit out for a few games and I’m completely happy to do that. All the girls are amazing, we’re all pretty equal in skill and ability, it’s just the way it is for the team. I’m just happy to go and be involved.
There are a few familiar faces going on this tour and Kasey is a really good friend of yours, will that help settle your nerves?
Yeah, I’ve been on two camps so far. The first camp was pretty hard as I didn’t know anyone and a lot of the girls already knew each other really well. The second camp was so much better as I knew lots of people and got to know everyone a little better. I think to go on this tour, I’m going to get to know everyone a lot better and become really good friends.
What’s your coach like? Are you really excited to be learning new skills, drills and tactics?
Yeah, he is really good. He is really been helping me improve my body position. For example, with my shooting, I don’t hold my body very well, my elbow is a bit dropped. So he has helped me improve on those areas and helped me improve my shot, to become more accurate.
Do you know much about the teams you will be up against?
I know a little bit about the other teams but not much. Looking at the draw we have a pretty good draw, we don’t have any of the major teams in our pool, which sets us up well as the competition progresses.
Are there any teams that you’re looking forward to playing against?
Yeah, the USA team are a team I’m really looking forward to watching and playing against. I think they are an amazing team, I’m so excited. They are going to be really challenging, I’ve heard they are a really physical team but I’m just really excited to get the opportunity to play against them.
Are there any expectations for this team for the FINA Youth World Championships?
So Dusan thinks we can win the tournament and I reckon we can, we have a really strong team and everyone is a great player. We all have good shots, we’re good in defence and extra-man attack, which we’ve been working on during the camps. So I reckon we can go all the way and reach the finals.
Has the selection in the Born 2000 team spurred you? Do you have your sights set on making more national teams, playing AWL and putting yourself in contention for Senior Squads?
Yeah, I really want to go to the Olympics, that’s my main goal, that is everything I want. So I have to keep working hard and making these teams. I’m really proud of myself for getting selected in this team, it was a really big achievement for me.
We wish Maisie and the Born 2000 team the best of luck for the FINA World Youth Championships, which begins August 27. Catch all the action from Belgrade via FINATV.