Tamworth – best water polo centre in Australia!

In Australia a small regional town, Tamworth, is well known for its annual country music festivals. Many Australian and worldwide known folklore singers, such as Keith Urban, John Williamson, Becky Cole and Adam Harvey, used to be and still are its participants.

But in water polo circles, Tamworth is known as one of the leading centres of water polo development that produced members of the Australian National teams and it is fitting that the annual U14s state championships are held here.

Jason Davenport (Hensby) (1991), Heath Behncke (1993) and Paul Hofman (1993, 1995) were members of the Australian Junior teams.

Paul Hofman was captain of the top 4 finishing team at the 1995 world championships in France. I have no doubts that Paul would have made it to the Australian Olympic team had it not been for his shoulder injury that cut his international water polo career short.

Two Times Olympians, Craig Miller and Nathan Thomas, the latter captained the Australian team in Athens-2004, also come from Tamworth.

All above-mentioned athletes used to be students at the Tamworth high-school. Their water polo coach was Ron Surtees. Ron worked as a teacher at this school for 30 years from 1978 until 2008. It is his enthusiasm and love of water polo that upheld Tamworth High as a premier water polo school in the whole country for a long period of time.

It is a very impressive result for a country school water polo team that says a lot about the people who worked there.

The current President of Tamworth water polo is Sean Hofman. Under Sean, the sport’s development has gained a new momentum in recent years. In 2010, Tamworth’s U14 girls’ team won state championships.

19 boys and 19 girls’ teams will be participating in this year’s NSW U14s championships over the coming weekend, which is impressive.

For many boys of the Sydney University team last year, it was the first serious tournament at which they were learning the ‘ABCs’ of the game. From that perspective, I found it an excellent event.

This year 80% of the team is new and we are going to spend the week-end learning about the game again.

In 2011, the Cronulla ‘A’ boys’ team won the tournament. Alstonville came second. Sydney University and Manly Breakers were equal third.

About Erkin Эркин Shagaev Шагаев
European, world, Olympic champion, two times World Cup winner Чемпион Европы, мира, Олимпийских игр, двукратный обладатель Кубка мира

4 Responses to Tamworth – best water polo centre in Australia!

  1. Mark Mc says:

    Well done to Ron Surtees and his helpers!
    Although I do remember with fondness the day Ryde high School defeatd Tamworth in a School knock out final at Parramatta.
    Was in 1977?

  2. Darren says:

    No doubt Tamworth rates as the No 1 Country district for consistant and talented teams and individual players. Quite often it is not the lack of ability that restricts a young tamworthian waterpolo player, but the lack of an all year round playing/training centre. Tamworth has no indoor facility and given the climate, players spend 40% of the year out of the pool, which gives even further credit to the players and coaches.
    Lastly, I think a mention to Pat Saunders, also a past teacher at THS who was instrumental in Tamworths growth and success in the pool as Ron Surtee’s right hand man.

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