MELVILLE Water Polo Club has solidified its reputation for developing champion players after Gemma Beadsworth, Zoe Arancini and Glencora McGhie were all selected for Australia’s Olympic team.
All three women credit the club’s popular Flippaball program for providing the foundation for their success in the pool.
Beadsworth, who also competed at the Beijing and London Olympics, was originally a swimmer before being lured to water polo by former Olympic coach and club stalwart Tom Hoad.
“What I liked about water polo, which was so different to swimming, was the excitement, the pace and the freedom and that it’s also a great team sport,” Beadsworth said.
Teammate Arancini, who is preparing for her first Olympics, has spent the previous two European summers training in Bologna in Italy, honing her skills and polishing her Italian at the same time.
She said she was introduced to Flippaball through her water polo playing parents.
“At first, I wasn’t mad on the physicality of it, so I tried it and then didn’t play for a year,” Arancini said. “However, I got in and played after a year and since then I’ve never looked back.”
“I ended up just loving the environment and being able to play a physically challenging sport alongside my friends.”
McGhie, who competed alongside Beadsworth at the 2012 Olympics, where the Australian women finished third, said she was 12 when she made the switch from swimming to Flippaball.
“I really preferred the team aspect of it as opposed to just going up and down chasing the black line,” McGhie said.
“It’s a great sport socially. I’ve made lifelong friends, some of whom I’ve known since my Flippaball days and it’s just a really great inclusive sport.”
Club president David Leavy said the club was proud to have three of its female members, all of whom came up through the junior ranks, selected to the Olympic team.
“We’re incredibly proud of all of them and of their success and of the small part that the club has played in getting them to Olympic standard,” he said.