With the biennial championships commencing this week in Hungary, both the men’s Sharks and women’s Stingers squads will be well represented by local talent.
Aaron Younger – a dual Olympic representative – will captain the men’s side with the 25 year-old joined in action by fellow West Aussies; Ed Slade, James Fannon, and UWA Torpedos George Ford, Andrew Ford and Tim Putt.
Rio Olympian Zoe Arancini – who was voted in the FINA All Stars team at the last world titles back in 2015 – will be joined by world championship debutants Lilian Hedges and Jessica Zimmerman. Both previous students of the University of WA.
The Sharks commence their campaign on July 17 with a match against hosts Hungary, and suffered a tough loss in front of a sold out 8000 strong home crowd. Stingers similarly begin their campaign on July 17 but will face Kazakhstan, before matches against Russia and Greece.
Water Polo Australia High-Performance Manager Tom Hill said the start of the new Olympic cycle presents an ideal opportunity for both sides to offer the next generation of talent to compete on the international stage.
"This international season for our teams is the official kick off for our Tokyo 2020 campaign, with new talent joining our more experienced players.
"It has been a some-what challenging preparation, with several players unavailable for selection due to injury or taking time off. But what that allows us to do is give the players coming through our pathways the opportunity to step into the senior teams.
"For our Women’s team we have welcomed a new Head Coach in Sakis Kechagias, who joined our team in April this year.
"Our teams have been in Asia and Europe in the lead up to World Championships, with some mix results but overall improving performances in the build-up.
"A World Championship in Budapest will provide a unique experience for all players, with Margaret Island regarded as the ‘home of water polo’. We’re expecting big game atmosphere and tough competition,” he said.