Water polo: Coach, study and play the Woods way

2007-11-22 00:00

Besides the practice hours that she puts in playing for the campus waterpolo side, she also juggles her time to coach the Pietermaritzburg Girls' High water polo and indoor hockey first teams. That is when she is not meeting the demands of a third-year Media and Marketing student.

“It is a hectic schedule, but I have managed to do it all the way through Varsity so far,” she says.

Having matriculated from Girls' High in 2004, the transition to coach was natural for someone who has represented her province in every age group since under 14.

“There is a serious demand for experienced waterpolo coaches in Kwazulu-Natal,” she says.

A lack of resources means these coaches cannot be attracted, and this affects the standard of play of local teams. Since the amalgamation of the university teams, the UKZN side has improved.

“Usually we struggle at the SAU games, but this year we were much better, and even managed to upset some of the better sides from the Cape,” Wood says.

Wood says the merger between Durban and Maritzburg has improved the standard, but admits the travelling to Durban for training takes its toll.

She is no stranger to travel, having seen most of the country on various inter-provincial tournaments. The highlight of her travels came in 2003, however, when she visited Croatia with the South African U16 B squad.

“The standard and physicality in those countries is amazing - scary even,” Wood says.

With the availability of funds, teams in Europe are able to spend more time honing their skills and this is illustrated by their results internationally.

Wood, who was recently promoted to captain of waterpolo for women at UKZN, was part of the successful KZN women's side that took part in the Currie Cup championships, where they finished a very commendable second place.

With her undergraduate studies coming to an end, Wood is still undecided about next year. Although she would love to continue playing, she admits that the lack of sponsorship for waterpolo makes it difficult to keep competing at the highest levels.

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