National recognition for Wits waterpolo player

A WITS Women’s Water Polo player has been selected for the South Africa Women’s National Water Polo team that will compete at the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) Women’s Water Polo World Cup in Surgut, Russia on September 4-9.

Emma Hardham was the only Wits student to be selected for the 13-member national polo team announced by Swimming South Africa on July 31.

The 21-year-old joined players from universities such as Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Pretoria, as well as individuals who had previously played for the national side.

Hardham, who started playing water polo at the age of 12, told Wits Vuvuzela that she was ecstatic when she was informed of her achievement.

“I was beyond excited to have made the team. I really didn’t think I would make it, so getting the news that I had, was truly exciting for me,” she said.

The fourth-year physiotherapy student said that her journey to reaching this achievement had not been easy.

“I have a passion for both water polo and physiotherapy so balancing my time between both hasn’t been easy. I had to balance catching up clinical hours and tests,” Hardham said.

“This tournament will help me gain further experience by playing high level water polo. I want to further learn new skills and team tactics that I can only pick up by playing high standards of the sport.

“The FINA world championship tournament is happening in South Korea next year in June and I want to make the team that will be participating,” Hardham added.

Kelsey White, coach of the Wits Women’s Water Polo team, told Wits Vuvuzela that she had been coaching Hardham since she was in high school.

‘We recruited her to play for Wits while she was still a student at St Mary’s School because of her talent. She has been playing for Wits ever since,” the coach said.

White added, “She is not only good at the sport but she has drive and passion. I hope she continues to work hard no matter how good she gets.”

White explained that FINA was the world’s highest organisation in water sport.
“FINA is the world federation which runs all aquatic sports, it is the aquatic association of the world,” she said.

Chairperson of the Wits Water Polo Club, Caitlyn O’Shaughnessy, described Hardham as a dedicated player.

“Emma is a consistent player of the team.We are proud of her and to have a member of our club selected for the ladies national team is very exciting.

“Her selection helped to highlight the success and achievements of the club over the past few years,” she said.

The team will depart for Russia on September 1.

FEATURED IMAGE: Emma Hardham has been selected for the South African team   Photo: Provided