Sydney 2000 gold medallist Simone Fountain puts Geraldton water polo players through paces in star search
One of the best water polo players Australia has produced says the opportunity is there for someone to be the sport’s first country superstar.
Simone Fountain, a gold medal winner at Sydney 2000 who was the top centre forward in the world at her best, held a clinic for the local water polo community in Geraldton last week, and said she was looking forward to the country supplying a superstar of the game.
“There is the opportunity for someone from the regions to be a trailblazer,” Fountain said.
“Particularly for the youngsters, Brisbane Olympics is not that far away.
“Australian water polo is really building towards that opportunity, and I think some of the youngsters here are playing at the level they could excel and move forward.
“If you think that’s (Brisbane 2032) only 10 years away, we’d love to see some players come out of the regions.”
She encouraged people in the country to “take every opportunity” and said efforts to build capacity in the sport could go a long way to helping them achieve.
“Western Australian and Australian water polo are starting to try a few things at home to make sure we’ve got good teams and good athletes coming through,” Fountain said.
“Take any chance you get.”
She said Geraldton’s Kobi Toomath, now playing in South Australia for the Adelaide Jets in the national water polo league just a short time after finishing high school, was an example of how quickly people could progress in the game.
Geraldton men’s Country Week coach and International Swimming Hall of Fame selection committee chair Russell McKinnon said it was impressive to have a gold medallist in Geraldton and said Fountain had been key in setting up the gold medal match winner against the USA with a brilliant, angled 7m pass to Yvette Higgins.
“She just put it on the hand and it caught everybody out,” McKinnon said.
“It was the pass that put it on the hand that eventually scored the goal, that was famously 1.3 seconds from full time.
“She’d (Fountain) be one of our top three centre forwards of all time.
“She was regarded as the best centre forward in the world at the height of her career.
“It shows you how valuable that clinic was.”
McKinnon said Fountain also had multiple World Cup and World Championship medals from a 12-year international career.
The Geraldton Water Polo Association will play B-grade games tonight and A, B and C-grade tomorrow at the Geraldton Aquarena.
Demons play B52s in men’s A-grade tomorrow with key Demons Zacc Cross and Ben Vittino set to return.
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