As one of the Hunter’s inaugural water polo clubs, the Raymond Terrace Tigers have enjoyed the highs and lows throughout an intriguing 46-year history.
Playing at Lakeside Pool, the Tigers are going through a mini renaissance with all seven teams of mixed, men’s and women’s, juniors and seniors, performing creditably in season 2018-19 in the pool.
The club has also produced a number of representatives for the Hunter Hurricanes under 14, under 16 and under 18 years age groups.
Gracie Saunders, 14, Lara Berry, 15, and Jay Deamer, 16 – along with the Terrace-adopted Central Coast siblings Max Ferguson, 14, and Casey, 16 – are off to Brisbane for the national youth championships starting on Saturday, January 12.
“This is a tremendous effort and we are very proud of their selections,” said Michael O’Brien, the club’s long-term president and a former player and coach of the sport.
“We are only a small club compared to others in the Newcastle Water Polo league but we are very competitive.
“The club has won a number of premierships over the years and has a strong development and training program in place for newcomers.
“We get a number of members transitioning from field and court sports such as soccer and netball, so they already have ball sense, and they adapt to the swimming part and skills of the game.”
Club games are played on Saturday afternoons and Tuesday evenings (men’s and women’s A-grade) from October to March, with Raymond Terrace hosting more than its fair share of home games due to the availability of Lakeside pool.
Club secretary Kylie Saunders said that water polo was steeped in history in Australian sport and Raymond Terrace was looking to broaden its exposure.
“The club conducts come and try days and recruits through social media and the school system. Presently, out numbers are good but we are always looking to bolster our teams,” she said.
“We have a mixed under 14s team of predominantly new players, while our under 17s, open men and women A- and B-grade sides are performing exceptionally well.”
The newly created Australian youth championships will be the biggest water polo event in Australia, attracting 3000 participants from 175 teams competing from January 12-24.