Earlier this year, Meriden’s Senior Firsts Water Polo player Lucienne Levenberg-Penklis, Year 10, was named vice-captain of the Australian Cadet Women’s Water Polo Team.
“It felt unreal when my coach approached me and asked me if I was willing to be the vice-captain. It was an honour to be one of the captains of the team,” said Lucienne.
As vice-captain, Lucienne’s role included supporting and helping her teammates. “To be entrusted with that responsibility meant a great deal to me,” she said.
In August, Lucienne travelled to Larissa in Greece, to compete in the first-ever FINA Water Polo Cadet World Championships, for players aged sixteen years and under.
Lucienne said that the selection process for the Australian team began following the Water Polo State Championships in January this year when she joined around forty players at a five-day training camp where their abilities were assessed during swimming trials, strategy, skills and games against other teams.
“There were three more camps before the final team was selected,” she said.
Lucienne was thrilled to represent Australia to play against teams from different countries and loved meeting and training with other national teams, including Japan, USA, Greece and Croatia.
The Australian Cadet Team’s first training camps were in Eger, Hungary. “We were training partners with the Hungarian team and we all got to know each other and became friends,” she said.
The gruelling competition rounds in the FINA Cadet World Championships included matches against Greece, Switzerland, Hungary, USA, Italy and Spain, with Australia finishing a highly respectable fourth overall, after a tough bronze medal match against Spain.
Lucienne said that meeting girls from all over Australia has been one of the highlights. “I’m also exposed to so many awesome coaches all with their own unique experiences and skills.”
As well as her academic schedule, Lucienne spends more than eighteen hours a week playing or training and said that her focus is on “getting faster, fitter and stronger.”
Lucienne is a member of the Australian National Age Group Squad (Youth), NSWIS (NSW Institution of Sport) Talent Squad, Sydney University SSL Squad (Sydney Super League Squad), Sydney University Women’s First Division (W2s), Sydney University U18s and Meriden’s Senior First Team.
She is working towards being selected for the Australian Youth Team that will go on tour in 2023.
“Otherwise, my goal is to get as far as I can while still keeping up with my academics,” said Lucienne.