Friday, April 11, 2008

Australia - Perth - 2008 FINA Masters Games

Yes, I finally have a confirmed team!! Some of you may remember that 2 years ago I went with my Calgary Splash team to Stanford to play in the FINA Masters Games in water polo. We had such a great time and were fortunate enough to medal as well. When we were planning this trip, I found out that the 2008 version was to be held in Perth, one of the cities we wanted to spend some time in.

I contacted the organizers a couple of months back to see if there was a team that needed an extra player. They said they would put my name in the mix. When I arrived here a month ago, I started to swim and train for the first time in 9 months. I didn't have a team, but was put in touch with a great gal by the name of Betty Anderson. She is 57 and was with the Aus National team and captained it in the late 70's. She is a phenomenal gal and very fit. She said her team was full but welcomed me to train with them.

There were a couple of other players from the US and the Eastern Aus states that were in the same boat as me - orphans so to speak. Betty took things a bit further and suggested that we combine with those girls and have a few of her members play both 40+ and 45+ and as long as we registered as the same club things would be just fine. I just kept on swimming and training and hoping for the best.

Well finally, with a week to go before the games start, we do have an official team entered and we are the UWA (University of Wester Australia) Composite 40+ team. It has been very hard these last 2 weeks to be training and not sure if I would even get the chance to play. The bonus is that I have found out that Calgary is sending a men's 50+ team which has a bunch of guys that I played at the same time as in the early 80's and one of them is even Cathy's coach from her Atom years. It will be nice to see some familiar faces after all of these months.

So this afternoon we have a "scratchy" which is Aussie slang for scrimmage against the City Beach Dolphins 45+ in the full pool. This will be gut check time as we normally scrimmage cross court. I know a few of the girls on my team are like Jane on my Splash team and just go and go. This will help for those of us who may be sucking wind in the back!!

The opening ceremonies are next Thursday. This is a huge event with thousands of swimmers (there are 500+ in the women's 45+ 50 Free) and synchro and diving up to the 80+ category. Those events are great to watch and the kids are keen to see them. I think our kids will also be minor officials as they are short on those too, even though this is the 2 week Fall break for schools here.


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