The South African women’s Water Polo team was overcome by the more experienced Netherlands side when they fell 22-1 in their opening match of the 16th FINA World Championships on Sunday. Ruby Versfeld scored the only goal for South Africa, who will play their next match against Australia on Tuesday. Scorers for the Netherlands were Miloushka Smit (three), Chatarina Van Der Sloot (four), Amarens Genee (one), Marloes Nijhuis (two), Vivian Sevenich (two), Maud Megens (one), Isabella Van Toorn (one), Lieke Klaassen (six) and Leonie Van Der Molen (two).
Speaking after the match, South African coach Brad Rowe was full of praise for his team despite going down to the Netherlands: ‘They tried their hardest against all odds and were simply unable to hold on to one of the best teams at the tournament, while having only three players on the bench.’ swimming South Africa’s CEO, Shaun Adriaanse said despite their defeat to the Netherlands, they expect the team to improve their performance as the Championships progress: ‘It is always a bit nerve wrecking in opening events especially against highly rated teams like the Netherlands, but we are confident our team will recover and improve.’
Earlier on in the day, Emma Manners Wood and Laura Strugnell finished 37th in the Synchro Duet Technical preliminaries with 65.3539 points in the Diving section, Julia Vincent and Micaela Bouter ended the 1m Springboard preliminaries in 21st and 22nd place respectively. Gold medalist Chad Ho will be racing the 10km Open Water Swimming event tomorrow (Monday), alongside Daniel Marais, while the men’s Water Polo team will be up against Argentina in their first game of the competition.