Going to an inter-provincial competition as a club team was always going to be a daunting task but the women of Western Warriors Waterpolo Club showed that when the going gets tough, the tough get swimming.
Having clinched their local league title a few weeks before the inter-provincial Currie Cup tournament, held in Stellenbosch last month, the Western Warriors women knew they were at the top of the local game but they still had unanswered questions when it came to national prowess. Those were quickly answered when they beat all and sundry to clinch the overall winners trophy and there is none more proud than their coach, Alex Hawkins.
“To be honest, I’d say we could not have asked for a better tournament. A lot of our women have full-time jobs so it is difficult to fit training sessions into their busy schedules. As a result we weren’t able to do the kind of prep we would have liked and relied on players doing extra work in their own time. In the compulsory practices we did have, we focussed on specific team strategies.
“Our game plan worked perfectly for us and allowed us to minimise our weaknesses. We were able to put our opposition under pressure with our tight press marking strategy and forced them to make mistakes which we were able to capitalise on.
“Ordinarily the tournament is a provincial one but this year it was decided that it could work as an inter-club tournament. However, most of the provinces still sent out their provincial teams, while Western Province sent four club teams, of which we are one. Our ladies team won the league knockout tournament two weeks before the Currie Cup and now having won this tournament, we are essentially the strongest women’s team in the country,” he said.
Hawkins attributes his team’s success to a great team camaraderie, despite their being differences in age, with their youngest member being 15 years old and their oldest coming in at 28.
“The whole team gets on incredibly well both in and out the pool and this really helped us pull together the wins as we went on to play some really attractive waterpolo. We seemed to get more and more clinical as the competition progressed and in the final we won with a comfortable 10-4 scoreline.
“Swim SA, the organisers of the competition, are trying to get more national tournaments like this one happening throughout the year so our goal is to cement our position as the top women’s team in the country by winning as many of these as possible. A number of our ladies are also involved in the SA set-up and will be involved with a training camp at the end of April and then take part in a European tour at the beginning of July, so we need to make sure these players are at their peak for these dates,” he said.
With their club growing in leaps and bounds, they will soon be adding a fourth women’s team to their stable along with the host of men’s and junior teams they currently boast. In the space of two years they have grown to over 150 members, making them the fastest growing club in the country.
“Our club caters for all levels from splash polo, which we call our Wee warriors section, all the way to our top-level men’s and women’s teams. As a club we just want to thank our sponsors as well as Rondebosch Boys’ High School, who have made their pools available to us throughout the season for our training sessions. We will be launching a waterpolo development programme for communities not exposed to waterpolo in the third school term. It will also involve coaching the coaches of these communities,” he said.
For more information on how you can become involved at the club, contact Dean Rimmer at email@example.com