Meriden water polo players make national team

22 July 2021

Winter didn’t slow Meriden’s Senior Firsts Water Polo players, Samantha Hardingham and Zoe Thomas. The girls’ hard work throughout Term 2 culminated in them gaining selection to Water Polo Australia’s Cadet Women team (Born 2005 and 2006) following a highly competitive identification process.

To gain selection, the girls participated in a high-performance program alongside some of the country’s most promising young athletes and the process included a five-day training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Samantha, who moved to Meriden last year to be part of the School’s highly-successful Olympus Program, said her selection to the national team shows that dedication to your passion pays off.

“I have worked really hard over the last few years, training up to twenty-one hours per week and giving up all my other sports so that I can focus on water polo,” she said.

“I’m delighted to have been selected and it feels like I’m on the right path for a future in the sport. I’m looking forward to learning from the coaches and developing my team leadership, specifically my communication skills, to more effectively coordinate with my teammates during matches.”

Zoe is enthusiastic about the new experiences she will have as a member of the elite team.

“The girls selected to the team are some of the best in our age group. I’ve played against many of them in various competitions so I’m excited to have the opportunity to play alongside them. I hope I can gain strategy and game tips that will improve my skills in the water,” she said.

Meriden Head Water Polo Coach and former Olympic athlete, Ms Chloe Wilcox, was an assistant coach at the talent identification camp and said the girls’ selection was well-deserved.

“I was extremely impressed with the effort Samantha and Zoe put in at the camp,” she said.

“Both girls bring to the team well-developed skills and determination to succeed. I’m looking forward to seeing them continue to grow as players,” she said.

The pair was due to compete in the New Zealand U18 National Championships later this month. However, due to travel restrictions, will no longer be able to participate.

Samantha and Zoe dream of one day playing for the Australian women's water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, but for now, they are taking one step at a time and focusing on working hard to become valuable members of their newest squad.