Live stream: How family focus has forged Tasmania’s path to Australian Youth Water Polo Championships

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It is a family affair for the rising stars of Tasmanian water polo in more ways than one.

The completely volunteer-run state body will send one of its strongest contingent of players in recent memory to this months Water Polo Australian Youth Championships.

Five teams, featuring four sets of sisters, will travel from the island to take part in the annual championships at Brisbane’s Sleeman Sports Complex.

The tournament will be exclusively live streamed on KommunityTV with matches from the main indoor pool broadcast across 10 days of tournament action.

FIND OUT HOW TO WATCH THE AUSTRALIAN YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS LIVE

But the family connections aren’t just limited to in the pool, with father of three water polo young guns Aaron Debnam leading the charge out of the water as the new president of Water Polo Tasmania.

The Debnam family have played a key role in the resurgence of the Tasmanian junior ranks after their eldest daughter turned to the sport several years ago.

“We’ve got five teams going from Tassie which is one of the strongest contingents we’ve had in the years I’ve been involved,” said Debnam.

“Developing that competitive pathway in Tasmania is a huge priority for me, I want our kids to have just as much of a chance to play at that top level as kids from other states. A lot of our kids vacate to go elsewhere when they get to that level, so it would be a great thing for Tasmanian Water Polo if we could develop that further.

“We plan to utilise our experience at the Championships as much as a development opportunity for our coaches and players. It’s such a great pathway for the development of a large number of athletes, and the kids love it and have heaps of fun which is what you want.”

Debnam names his children as his biggest motivation.

“Our kids certainly were the ones who got us into water polo in the first place, we just love seeing what our kids do,” he said.

“Laine, our eldest, just fell in love with the sport and when she played her first season of club five years ago, my wife Imogen and I just looked at each other and thought ‘this is amazing, how great is this sport’. It’s so exciting to watch, it’s never slow, and we’re all hooked now.

“My two daughters will be competing at the Championships in January and Imogen is also the manager of the 14 & U Girls team. Our youngest son, while too young to play at the Championships, also plays and will be travelling up with us, so the whole family is pretty much all in on the water polo thing,” he joked.

In addition to his other roles with Water Polo Tasmania, Debnam will be attending the AYWPC as an assistant coach. He will be coaching his daughter Laine, who is competing in the 16 & U Girls Green division.

For Laine, the AYWPC is a great opportunity to play the sport she loves with her friends and family.

“I’m really excited to get more Championship experience and travel away with my team,” said Laine.

“I fell in love with the sport cause straight away, I really felt like I had found my thing. I’ve played lots of other sports in the past, but nothing ever worked as well as water polo did for me.

“I’ve also made some really great friends along the way, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to keep coming back at the beginning.

“I think my team is amazing, we’ve all been working really hard at swimming and training and we’re excited to go away together. We’re all really excited for the AYWPC,” she concluded.

The AYWPC will take place across various venues in Brisbane from early to mid January 2024. To learn more about the event, visit the website here.

Originally published as Live stream: How family focus has forged Tasmania’s path to Australian Youth Water Polo Championships

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