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Australia women's national water polo team

The Australian national women's water polo team represents Australia in women's international water polo competitions and is controlled by Australian Water Polo Incorporated. It was one of the most successful women's water polo teams in the world. It is currently organised into the Asia/Oceania regional group.

AssociationAustralian Water Polo
ConfederationOSA (Oceania)
Head coachAthansios Kechagias
Asst coachPredrag Mihailović
CaptainRowena Webster
Olympic Games
Appearances5 (first in 2000)
Best result1st (2000)
World Championships
Appearances13 (first in 1986)
Best result1st (1986)
World League
Appearances9 (first in 2004)
Best result2nd (2007, 2010, 2012)
World Cup
Appearances15 (first in 1979)
Best result1st (1984, 1995, 2006)


The Australian women's water polo team played their first international in 1975. Since that time they have gone from strength to strength. The team have often had to struggle with lack of funding, but despite that continued to perform credibly on the international stage.

Following 6th place at the 1994 World Aquatics Championships in Rome, Italy, they won the women's Water polo World Cup at home in Sydney, Australia, in 1995. In 1996, the women won the silver medal in the Olympic Year Tournament behind the Netherlands, then finished with bronze in the following year's World Cup in Nancy, France. Australia continued their successful mid-1990s run by winning the bronze medal at the 1998 World Aquatics Championships in Perth, and remarkably over the rest of 1998 and 1999 were unbeatable, winning the four international tournaments they contested in the Netherlands, Italy, the United States and Hungary.

After an incredible 14 month winning streak, they only managed the silver at the 1999 world cup in Winnipeg, Canada.

Another success came in 1997 when it was announced that women's Water polo would be included in the Olympic Games for the first time at their home Olympics in Sydney.

Having had an excellent build up to the 2000 Summer Olympic Games at home in Sydney, the team went into the first Olympic tournament at home. They only lost one match to the powerful Dutch side in that historic campaign, on the way to winning the first ever women's Olympic gold medal in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

In an incredible Olympic final, the evenly matched US and Australian sides were tied 3–3 with 1.3 seconds remaining on the clock, when Yvette Higgins blasted in a nine-metre shot from a free throw. The ball crossed the goal-line 0.2s from the final hooter to give Australia a 4–3 win, and the gold medal.

The Australian team which won the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics was composed of Naomi Castle, Jo Fox, Bridgette Gusterson (C), Simone Hankin, Kate Hooper, Yvette Higgins, Bronwyn Mayer, Gail Miller, Melissa Mills, Debbie Watson, Liz Weekes, Danielle Woodhouse, and Taryn Woods.

The team was brought back down to earth with an Olympic hangover in 2001, only managing 5th in the World Championships of that year. This dip in form was short lived, however, as they won the inaugural Commonwealth Water Polo Championships title in Manchester, England in 2002, beating world No 3 Canada 6–5 in the final.

The Australian women then suffered another lean patch, finishing 7th at the 2003 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Spain, 4th at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, and 6th at the 2005 World Aquatics Championships in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The team returned to successful ways by taking the bronze at the 2005 FINA Water Polo World League event in Kirishi, Russia, and at the 2007 Water polo world championship in Melbourne, Australia by taking the silver medal, after losing a hard fought final 5–6 to the US team.

At the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the team took the bronze medal after beating Hungary for 3rd place in a penalty shootout.

Olympic recordEdit

Year Games Position
2000 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia   Gold medal (won 6–3 v Russia, lost 4–5 v Netherlands, won 7–6 v USA, won 9–4 v Canada, won 7–6 v Russia, won 4–3 v USA (gold medal match))
2004 2004 Summer Olympics, Athens, Greece 4th (won 6–5 v Italy, lost 4–9 v Kazakhstan, tie 7–7 v Greece, lost 2–6 v Greece, lost 5–6 v USA (bronze medal match)).
2008 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing, China   Bronze medal (won 8–6 v Greece, tie 7–7 v Hungary, won 10–9 v Netherlands, won 12–11 v China, lost 9–8 v USA, won 8–8 with penalty shootout 4–3 v Hungary (bronze medal match)).
2012 2012 Summer Olympics, London, Great Britain   Bronze medal (won 10–8 v Italy, won 16–3 v Great Britain, won 11–8 v Russia, won 16–16 with penalty shootout 4–2 v China, lost 9–11 v USA, won 13–11 after overtime v Hungary (bronze medal match)).
2016 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 6th (won 14-4 Russia, lost 7-8 Italy, won 11–3 v Brazil, lost 8-8 Hungary on penalty shootout, won 11-4 Brazil, lost 10-12 Spain (5th-6th playoff)



Olympic GamesEdit

Olympic Year TournamentEdit

FINA World ChampionshipEdit

FINA World LeagueEdit

FINA World CupEdit

Holiday CupEdit


Current squadEdit

The following is the Australian roster in the women's water polo tournament of the 2016 Summer Olympics.[1]

Head coach: Greg McFadden

Name Pos. Height Weight Date of birth 2016 club
1 Lea Yanitsas GK 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in) 78 kg (172 lb) 15 March 1989   Sydney Uni Water Polo Club
2 Gemma Beadsworth CF 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) 78 kg (172 lb) 17 July 1987   Fremantle Marlins
3 Hannah Buckling CB 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in) 75 kg (165 lb) 3 June 1992   Sydney Uni Water Polo Club
4 Holly Lincoln-Smith CF 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 26 March 1988   Cronulla Sharks
5 Keesja Gofers D 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in) 64 kg (141 lb) 16 March 1990   Sydney Uni Water Polo Club
6 Bronwen Knox (c) CF 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in) 88 kg (194 lb) 16 April 1986   Victorian Tigers
7 Rowena Webster CB 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) 64 kg (141 lb) 27 December 1987   Victorian Tigers
8 Glencora Ralph CB 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) 68 kg (150 lb) 8 August 1988   Fremantle Marlins
9 Zoe Arancini D 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in) 70 kg (154 lb) 14 July 1991   Fremantle Marlins
10 Ashleigh Southern CF 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 22 October 1992   Brisbane Barracudas
11 Isobel Bishop D 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) 69 kg (152 lb) 8 September 1991   Sydney Uni Water Polo Club
12 Nicola Zagame D 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in) 72 kg (159 lb) 11 August 1990   Cronulla Sharks
13 Kelsey Wakefield GK 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) 64 kg (141 lb) 1 June 1991   Queensland Breakers


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sydney golden girls help announce Rio women's water polo team". Australian Olympic Committee. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  • HistoFINA Volume VIII (Edition 2004)

External linksEdit