Like many youngsters, Greer Edilson had dabbled in myriad codes but always came away feeling it wasn't for her.

But that suddenly changed in the last year of Havelock North Primary School when Edilson saw her older brother, Anton, now 18, competing in canoe polo.

"I played every single sport under the sun — softball, netball, soccer, rugby — you name it, everything," says the teenager. "Canoe polo was the one for me."

Six years on the Havelock North High School student received a timely endorsement when she returned as a member of the New Zealand under-21 women's team with a bronze medal from the Canoe Polo World Championship in Welland, Canada, early this month.

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Now she yearns for more.

"The plan is for the next worlds in Rome in 2020 and, hopefully, bring a gold from there."

Edilson gleefully points out she will still be eligible, as the second 16-year-old in the team, for another world championship in 2022 to retain their status.

The Year 12 student says they didn't go to the world championship, from July 30 to August 5, with any expectations as such because of their youthfulness.

"We went with an open mind but when we won bronze it was the best feeling ever."

The Kiwis beat the Netherlands 4-2, crushed Argentina 37-0, overwhelmed Canada 11-2 but lost to Poland 6-5 in pool play.

In the quest for top-six position, New Zealand walloped Great Britain 7-4 before succumbing 6-3 to France to earn a semifinal berth against Poland.

The Poles pipped them 3-2 but the Kiwis edged out Great Britain by the same score in the playoffs for bronze medal.

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Hastings Girls' High School Year 12 student Hayley Cameron, 16, a charger, scored a goal in the medal match.

The other members of the team are captain Madison Gaiger, 19, a former Karamu High School student who is studying marine biology at Victoria University in Wellington; former HNHS student Alexia Hinton, 20, a radiology student; Klara Richter, 20, of Christchurch; Kelsey Wilde, 19, of Palmerston North, and Kate Blincoe of Palmerston North Girls' High School.

Luke Anderson, of Christchurch, mentored the side who had co-managers in Meryn Hinton, of Hastings, and Jannell Eade, of Palmerston North.

With a bronze outlook, NZ U21 canoe polo representative Greer Edilson is keen to add a golden glow in Rome and beyond. Photo / Supplied
With a bronze outlook, NZ U21 canoe polo representative Greer Edilson is keen to add a golden glow in Rome and beyond. Photo / Supplied

Edilson says the team's cohesiveness and rapport off the water were key in their success.

The "sideman" in defence and goalkeeper immensely enjoys thwarting oppositions' efforts to score.

"I'm in the last line of defence so blocking someone is just a great feeling because you know you've done your job well," she says. "In defence I just like smashing people, really."

Although overcast sometimes, it was hot days at the Welland Flatwater Centre canal and ideal for the championship.

She thanked the coach and co-managers for providing an inspiring and enjoyable climate for the team to thrive in.

"They kept us together, really, and kept us going from one place to the next. They were motivational and their knowledge was really helpful to our skills."

Edilson enjoys the aggression and the strategies the code offers in working as a collective.

"It's a unique sport because I've never heard of another of a similar kind."

Her parents had never heard of canoe polo until the children started playing it.

Edilson feels canoe polo should be deemed an Olympic sport some day.

The U21 New Zealand men's team, with Ethan Flanders, AJ Bowden and Liam Ward, of Hawke's Bay, finished fifth in their grade.

So did the senior New Zealand men and women's teams.

NZ U21 canoe polo reps from Hawke's Bay are Mitch Graham (left), Liam Ward, Hayley Cameron, Greer Edilson, Ethan Flanders and AJ Bowden. Photo / File
NZ U21 canoe polo reps from Hawke's Bay are Mitch Graham (left), Liam Ward, Hayley Cameron, Greer Edilson, Ethan Flanders and AJ Bowden. Photo / File