THERE must be something in the water in Wagga, as the town sends its largest contingent of state water polo representatives to a series of national tournaments in Brisbane in mid July.
Four Wagga High School students Lauren Macleod, Claudia Nugent, Lauren Nugent and Rex Gallaher have been selected to play for state teams.
Lauren Macleod and Claudia Nugent were selected in the NSW 16s team from outstanding performances at state championships in February.
The girls will take part in the Trans Tasman Challenge against Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand.
Claudia, a centre-forward, regularly travels to Sydney and Melbourne for the sport.
“It’s such a good group sport, you make so many friends and they just become your family on trips away,” Claudia said.
The former competitive swimmer played her first water polo tournament when she was in primary school and never looked back.
“I just loved it, I could not get enough of it, I gave up swimming competitively,” Claudia said.
“I still train but I found that swimming wasn’t as much of a team sport.
“With swimming you’ve got to push yourself by yourself, you’ve got no one to work for, but now when we train, we’re working for a team; you know that someone’s always got your back.”
Riverina water polo coach Paula Shumack gave both girls a glowing review.
“Claudia’s a forceful attacking player and has worked to improve her capacity to block outside shots around the goal mouth,” Shumack said.
“Lauren Macleod plays in goals and has excellent reflexes in the goal mouth.”
Macleod has worked on her legs over the winter months allowing her to stay elevated for longer. Her passing game has also improved with more accuracy in hitting the driving player in offence.
Lauren Nugent and Rex Gallaher were selected in 14s Waratah teams, representing NSW at the East Coast Challenge.
“Lauren Nugent is a zealous counter attacker who has had a consistent approach to improving both swimming and water polo skills over the winter months,” Shumack said.
Young Rex Gallaher hopes to learn a few tricks from his more experienced team mates.
“Rex Gallaher is like a dog with a bone in both attack and defence," Shumack said.
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