For Sean McDonald, 15, the eight-hour drive to Brisbane is part and parcel of training with the 16&U Boys White Team as they prepare for the Sydney Youth Water Polo Festival, 1-6 July. The Rockhampton youngster makes the journey on a regular basis to train and develop his water polo skills. We caught up with Sean to find out what motivates him to make the journey to Brisbane.
“We usually make the eight-hour drive on a Saturday so we can make training on Sunday. Sometimes we fly, which usually takes an hour and a half. This weekend, I flew down by myself and stayed with a mate and we came to training together. I went to three RTC sessions before the teams were announced and I’ve made a couple of training sessions with the team. I wasn’t expecting to be included in the team, it was really unexpected but it was such a good feeling when I found out.”
When Sean isn’t training with the team, he is back in the pool in Rockhampton training by himself and working on what coach Arkos and Bjorn have been teaching him. “In the off-season, we don’t really have any training as we don’t have many heated pools. There is the public pool and the team at South Side Pool let me use the diving pool to train, which is really good. At the moment I’m currently training by myself but I am going to get others to come along and get involved. The coaches are great and I really feel like I am improving on my body position and leg work. I take the stuff that I’ve learned from training and put into practice at home.”
For the 16&U Boys coach, Bjorn Galjaardt, Sean’s commitment to training has been fantastic and has shown real improvement. “In training, we can definitely see he is picking up the basic skills like blocking, mirror arm, sliding, the fundamental skills which are so important . At the level he is at now, I think he has really embraced the Queensland style of play.”
With a few more days to go until Team QLD heads off to Sydney, Sean is looking forward to pulling on the Maroon Cap and putting in a good performance during the tournament. “I think we are just going to Sydney to do the best we can, have some fun and enjoy a great experience. I really hope that we can improve with each game and build on that for next year.”
So why does Sean put in the effort? Quite simply for the love of the game and being a part of a fantastic team.