The accolades keep coming for the Tauranga Water Polo Club in both team performances and national selection for individual players.

Top of the highlight list this month is the senior men's team winning the National League Tier 2 finals held in Auckland. This means the team will be promoted to the Tier 1 competition next year for the first time, where they will compete with the heavyweights of New Zealand water polo such as North Harbour, Marist and Waitākere.

Tauranga Water Polo head coach Lionel Randall says it was not at all easy going for the team.

"Our team was made up of 60 per cent schoolboys who had to very quickly adapt to the pressures and demands of playing in a senior men's competition.


"In the final, we had to come from behind just to draw the game and ensure that the outcome was decided by penalties.

"I am incredibly proud of the boys. This was a fantastic team effort, with the senior men setting the example and guiding and mentoring the younger boys that gave the younger boys the confidence to really step up and deliver the goods."

The Tauranga team remains unbeaten in 2018 after winning an earlier round of the qualifiers played at Mount Maunganui's Baywave Aquatic Centre in May.

Now the planning begins to make sure the Tauranga team competes at the highest level and avoids relegation. Part of the preparation for 2019 will be hosting a senior men's and women's International Club Tournament in Tauranga in late November/early December, with top teams from Australia and New Zealand already expressing an interest in attending the event.

Randall is also excited to have New Zealand women's rep Kate Enocha join Tauranga Water Polo club as a player/coach.

"Kate has recently joined our team of coaches, bringing with her a wealth of experience of having played for a number of years at the highest level," he says.

"Kate is sharing her passion for the game by passing on her water polo skills and knowledge to our Under-14A boys' and Under-16A girls' teams where she is doing a great job as the coach of those teams.

"We look forward to signing Kate also as a player for our club and building our women's programme into something truly remarkable."


Meanwhile, there has been plenty of individual success for Tauranga players.

In April, Josef Schuler (senior men's B) and Bae Fountain (senior men) represented New Zealand at the FINA Water Polo World League Inter-Continental Cup played in Auckland.

Schuler and Fountain are joined by fellow Tauranga club members Reuben Ronalds and Liam Moffatt in the New Zealand Under-18 team to contest the Junior World Championships in Szombathely, Hungary in August.

New Zealand Water Polo high-performance co-ordinator, Angie Winstanley-Smith, says she is really looking forward to seeing how the boys play in Hungary.

"They have a great opportunity to acclimatise in Montenegro while playing against elite teams and other national teams before heading to Szombathely, Hungary. It will be an incredible experience for them in Hungary where water polo is the national sport.

"The draw is being made this Friday during the men's World League Super finals so it will be interesting to see who we match up against."