I started playing water polo as a medical student at the University of Western Australia in 1976 and played for the now defunct University Club. WA water polo in those days was small enough that all games were played on Thursday evenings at Beatty Park, which was terrific as everybody knew each other. From 1978 through until 1981 I played for WA in the State women’s team and was eventually selected in an Australian Women’s B team in 1981 before I left Australia to go to Oxford University to do my DPhil after graduating from medical school. As there was no women’s team at Oxford, I coached the men’s team and played in that team for every game except the most important one against Cambridge, who objected to playing against a woman. The silver lining was that the widespread press coverage led to me captaining the England women’s team for a couple of years. As I did not have British citizenship, I coached the Great Britain women’s team to the first women’s world championships in Madrid in 1986, which was won by Australia.
With three young children and a move to the US, my water polo commitments took a back seat for several years until I began coaching Greenwich High School girls and some local age group girls’ teams to the Junior Olympics and the Speedo Cup before returning to Australia in 2007. I joined Dolphins before the World Masters came to Perth in 2008 and with a win in the women’s 40+ age group as a member of Dolphins Deja Blue, my masters career was born. I have since competed with the Pink Pointers in Sweden (2010, 40+), Riccione (2012, 45+) and Montreal (2014, 45+), each with pink wigs and gold medal outcomes. The Pinkies look forward to defending our world championship in Budapest in 2017.
On a more serious note, I was a board member of the UWA Torpedoes from 2007 until 2012 and was assistant coach to Tibor Seress and the Comets/Torpedoes women’s team for most of that time. When short of players on road trips, I was also roped in to play so am on record as the oldest national league player in the country! Since stepping down from Torpedoes board, I have coached junior girls teams at Dolphins with an occasional stint as coach of the Dolphins women’s Premier League team.
I joined the WPWAI board in October 2014 and am particularly passionate about 1) women’s water polo and 2) ensuring that all players have appropriate access to all levels of this wonderful sport, irrespective of their local club.