The West

Magnificent seven pumped to do WA proud
Coach David Swift takes a time out with the seven West Australians — Lilian Hedges, left, Davis Verboon, Madelein Quinn, Luke Pavillard, Jessica Zimmerman, Kassia Ralston and William Mackay — picked for next month’s 18 and under junior world water polo championships. Picture: Lee Griffith/WA News

Western Australia will be strongly represented when the cream of international junior world water polo talent gathers in Perth early next month for the FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships.

Four junior women and three junior men from WA have been picked in two Australian squads of 14 which will be trimmed to 13 for each before the championships at Challenge Stadium from December 1-9.

In another tick for the host State, leading WA coaches David Swift and Paul Oberman have been included as assistants with the Australian junior men's team.

Twenty men's and 16 women's teams from Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania have entered, with more than 1500 juniors set to compete.

Kassia Ralston, one of the seven West Australians, said she was excited that Perth was hosting the championships.

"The water polo community in Perth is buzzing with excitement," Ralston said.

"There is so much anticipation for the World Youth Championships and I'm really looking forward to it.

"I feel privileged that Perth is hosting the championships as the best of what Perth has to offer always comes alive at this time of the year."

Perth has previously hosted the 1991 and 1998 FINA World Championships as well as the 2002 FINA World Cup for women and the FINA World Junior Women's Championships in 2001 and 2005.

Sixteen games will be played each day in two pools at Challenge Stadium, with medal games to be played on December 9.

Ralston, 18, said she was confident Australia could win against the world's best juniors.

"We've got a team that can match any of the powerful European teams or the US," she said.

"We will undergo a series of opposed training sessions and matches against Russia, Italy, Greece and Hungary in the lead-up to our first game."

The Australian women are grouped alongside Indonesia, Czech Republic and Uzbekistan, while the hosts' men will battle it out against New Zealand, Colombia, South Africa and Croatia.

The West Australian

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