Water polo player not out of her depth
There’s nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to motivate a young athlete’s sporting career.
That is how junior national water polo player Caitlin Mary Parker Allen began her sporting career in the pool three years ago.
At 16 years old she is one of the youngest members of the New Zealand team that will play in the World Women’s Youth Water Polo Championship this week in Auckland.
The year 11 St Cuthbert’s college student, who plays for the Marist club, said she has her older brother Jake to thank for getting her into the sport.
‘‘Jake has played since he was in year 6.
‘‘He’s the one that got me into the sport,’’ she said.
‘‘In year 8, he teased me about being too passive in the pool and never shooting.
‘‘When I played in front of him that night I was sure to shoot at every opportunity.
‘‘I have him to thank for a lot of my drive.’’
Allen said that while she’s tried several sports in school, water polo is definitely the sport for her. ‘‘I love the team element a lot. ‘‘I play a few different sports including netball and football, but none compare to the amazing and inclusive social atmosphere of water polo.’’
Allen was a finalist for this year’s ASB Young Sportsperson of the Year for water polo.
She also lead her Marist under 16 team to second place in the Pan Pacific Championships and helped the St Cuthbert’s premier team finish second at nationals.
She’s won the U16 Outstanding Player award for two years running in the club nationals competition.
Next week, Allen hopes she can prove herself against her older teammates.
New Zealand is pooled with South Africa, Russia and Spain.
‘‘I want to give every second of this tournament 200 per cent effort, to show how much it means to me.
‘‘I want to make my coach, family and my country proud by playing as smart, fast and hard as I can.
‘‘I want to make the hours and hours spent sweating mean something.
‘‘And prove to myself that I can play my own game against these talented teams.’’
New Zealand took South Africa in their first pool game on on Monday.
Caitlin Mary Parker Allen says she loves water polo more than any other sport. Caitlin Mary Parker Allen