Pair primed to defend world title
Not many teams can say they’ve been reigning world champions for the last five years.
The New Zealand Under-19 Women’s Underwater Hockey team are confident about rounding it up to an even six.
Brooke Stevens and Zoe Jarvis have been training with the team for the last eight months in preparation for the 2015 World Age Group Championships in Spain.
‘‘It still hasn’t really hit us yet that that we’re going and representing New Zealand,’’ Stevens says. ‘‘I’m really looking forward to the opening ceremony. I think that’s when it will hit me the most.’’
The championships start on August 6, leaving little more than a month to tighten up a hardy game plan. An impressive history at the competition poses a daunting challenge, but it is one the team is ready for.
‘‘We put all this effort into eight months of training and we can finally see the picture we’ve been striving for,’’ Jarvis says.
The Mt Eden residents spent June 12 to 14 representing Epsom Girls’ Grammar at the North Island Secondary School Championships. Coming away with a 4-2 win over Diocesan School in the finals, rivalries have now been put aside as attention turns to the upcoming tournament.
‘‘It’s a different vibe when you come to play for your school,’’ Stevens says. ‘‘It’s a lot more intense playing [for your country].’’
Underwater hockey is considered a niche sport but a strong supportive community can be attributed to New Zealand’s success.
‘‘It’s such a nice atmosphere,’’ Stevens says. ‘‘The people, the community . . . we’ve got so much support.’’
Outside of the pool this may be the case but everything changes the moment the buzzer goes in the pool.
Taking some well trained aggression to the competition will be crucial to bringing home the title.
‘‘You have to be really fierce, it’s really intense,’’ Jarvis says. ‘‘It’s hard to play, both physically and mentally. You have to have a lot of trust in your team-mates and be able to rely on each other.’’
The squad leaves for Spain on July 31 with Charlotte Borich of Remuera and Rebecca Gatland of Mt Eden also in the ranks.
Brooke Stevens and Zoe Jarvis are excited to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Underwater Hockey World Age Group Championships.
Ponsonby’s Wayne Ngaluafe is tackled by Waitemata’s Fred Tavita.