Young Dolphins learning on the fly
Water Polo: Foothills club hosts annual provincial showcase
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 08:38 pm
The Prairie Dolphins hope to parlay their annual water polo showcase into swimming as a united pod later this season.
The youthful Dolphins U14 girls went winless at the Dolphins Provincial Tournament on Jan. 18 at the Riley Minue Pool in Okotoks in what is the launching pad event for the winter season.
“I just want them to develop throughout the season. This is the first tournament of a series of three,” said Dolphins coach Jen Wakely. “As the season progresses I want to see the improvements and hopefully by the end of it we’ll be a lot stronger.
“This is the first time out so I think we’re going to be capable of doing much better.”
The Dolphins lost 9-3 to Medicine Hat and fell 9-4 to the Edmonton Thunderbirds, a team they previously lost to by 10 in league play, while using Atom-aged players and combining forces with those from Innisfail.
“We had different girls we don’t normally have on our team and they played super well,” the coach added. “We had lots of rookies and five U12s as opposed to U14s playing.”
Leading the Dolphins’ attack was 13-year-old Caitlyn Tiedje who used her swimming background and strength to give opposition fits all weekend.
“It (the background) helps because you don’t have to focus on the swimming part, but on the ball handling,” said Tiedje, a third-year Dolphin. “It makes it a lot easier.”
After turning a two-week trial with the Dolphins into a passion for the sport in just three years, she’s grown into her role as a top sniper for the Okotoks and High River area club.
“Not at first, but I got more comfortable as a I was playing longer,” said Tiedje, who attributed her offensive exploits to finding ways to get open. “You have to be able to get the ball and not have everyone crowded together because then it’s just crazy.”
For 13-year-old goalie Chelsea Anderson, the tournament was a chance to better get to know both teammates and opposition.
“You’re hoping for a little bit more team bonding,” Anderson said. “You want to know what their strengths are and for the other teams, too.”
She’s learned the last line of defence after a successful trial run in between the pipes.
“My coach just put me in there one day and I did it,” Anderson said. “I really like it.”
Anderson and Tiedje will be picking up more tidbits next month when they travel with the Calgary Renegades, an elite competitive team, from Feb. 6-9 for a California tour where they will participate in training camps and tournaments in the Golden State.
Many of the top Dolphins athletes have gone on to play for the Renegades including national team members Kyra Christmas, Julia Paterson and current Harvard Crimson student-athlete Zoe Osborne.
For more information on the Prairie Dolphins log on to dolphinswaterpolo.ca