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White and water polo girls still positive after losing to Netherlands
- Updated: July 27, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Despite the South African women going down 22-1 to Netherlands in their first water polo match at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia on Sunday, skipper Kelsey White says the side remain positive.
Ruby Versfeld was the only South African to get on the scoresheet early on as Dutch goalie Laura Aarts rushed out to intercept and Versfeld was able to lob the ball into an empty net.
That was the end of the SA scoring as the Dutch powered away to victory in the Group B match.
Coach Brad Rowe was full of praise for his girls: ‘They tried their hardest against all odds and were simply unable to hold on to one of the best teams at the tournament, while having only three players on the bench.’
Captain White told Road to Rio 2016: ‘I’m proud of the girls tenacity. It was so tough out there, mentally and physically. We’re down to 11 players at the moment but there’s still positive energy all around and plenty of pure South African grit.
‘The girls are keen to give it all they’ve got in the water and pick up the strength in our next game. We expect it to be a lot more physical against the Aussie girls.’
Australia played Greece in the other Group B game and edged the European side 8-7.
Swimming SA only sent 12 players to Kazan and a freak injury has reduced that still further. ‘On the first day here Delaine Christian slipped down the stairs and twisted her ankle quite badly and is out for the tournament.
‘We have two keepers here which is the requirement and they can only play in the goals. Thus we have 3 substitutes on the bench.’
Meanwhile the South African men’s water polo team open their campaign on Monday when they take on Argentina.
Captain Pierre le Roux told Road to Rio 2016: ‘ We had team trainings on Saturday with the Greek national team and the magnificent competition venue. Sunday we had another two training sessions for final preparation before game one against Argentina.
‘The first game will be a competitive one for Team SA as Argentina have a similar international ranking.
‘But the team are in a positive state of mind and guys are focused and preparing well. We’re hoping that the occasion will raise the game and playing level of the team and put on a good showing.’
Earlier on Sunday, Emma Manners Wood and Laura Strugnell finished 37th in the Synchro Duet Technical preliminaries with 65.3539 points.
In the Diving section, Julia Vincent and Micaela Bouter ended the 1m Springboard preliminaries in 21st and 22nd place respectively.
Open water 5km gold medalist Chad Ho will be racing the 10km event on Monday alongside Daniel Marais.