Madibaz water polo star Erin Harty has been inspired to continue developing her game after competing for South Africa in the Junior World Championships in Israel this month.
Although the South Africans finished 14th in the global event, the 20-year-old said the experience proved to be highly motivational.
“This is something I wish for many young players to experience,” said the first-year BA student, who is majoring in business, English and psychology.
“Playing at such a high level has motivated me to strive to get better and it gave me an understanding of how great the call of water polo can get.
“These junior champs allow young athletes to experience water polo at a high level and to prepare for the next tournaments.”
Harty has previously represented the SA U17 team at a tournament in the Czech Republic, which they won. This time they did not do as well, but she felt there was constant growth within the team.
“We were able to show improvement in every game that we played, which was a good thing as we have not had as much international exposure as other countries.”
Personally, she was happy with her performances, while taking plenty of lessons from the champs.
“I always strive to give my best and I feel I was able to contribute in ways that benefited the team,” said Harty.
“We were satisfied with the side’s performance and will aim to keep improving and hopefully get a better placing at the next Junior World Champs.”
She said that she had learnt that it was all about giving one’s best.
“Whether you win or lose, it’s about making sure that your team give everything right until the last second of the game. The players definitely did that.”
She added that her appetite for the future had been whetted by the championships.
“This has definitely provided me with the inspiration to continue to improve, as well as to apply the lessons learnt to South African water polo going forward.
“So I want to use this experience to further develop myself as a water polo player and to strive to make the national teams for upcoming tournaments.”
Harty had a message for the rising stars of the game.
“We, as players, need to make use of every opportunity to grow this sport in our country.
“I would like to encourage school players to continue being involved and to try to get into the national programme after school.
“Each player is sure to improve and grow with every experience they go through, and that can only benefit women’s water polo in the country.”