Water polo player not out of her depth

Auckland City Harbour News - - MILESTONES - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

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.

SUPPLIED

Caitlin Mary Parker Allen says she loves water polo more than any other sport. Caitlin Mary Parker Allen

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