Montenegro Water Polo Tour 2018
The Girls’ College embarked on the Montenegro Water Polo Tour on the 4th of August 2018. A short stopover in Istanbul preceded our arrival in the sweltering capital city of Podgorica, Montenegro. This was the start of a two-week long training camp for the Junior Water Polo squad. The girls were based in the city of Herceg Novi, a city of 30 000 people that boasts 30 Olympians from the 2016 Rio Games. Our host club, PVK Jadran is one of Europe’s most successful Water Polo Clubs since 1926.
On our arrival, the girls were treated to watching the Finals of an U15 Boys’ International Tournament. The hosts, Montenegro, lost to Hungary in the final game with over 900 local spectators coming in off the streets to watch the game. The girls trained twice a day, coached by the Montenegrin Men’s Senior Coach – Mr Vladimir Gojkovic – a legend of the sport. They played games against teams from Russia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Zimbabwe in most of the evening sessions. The difference in the level of Water Polo played by the Europeans can only be experienced in the pool. It was an eye opener for our players to play against some of the best players in their age group from across the world.
The girls did not only train, but also had the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Herceg Novi, Kotor and Podgorica. We went on boat excursions to the magnificent Blue Caves, an ecological wonder in the heart of the Bay of Kotor, as well as a day trip to the Old Town of Kotor, famous for its 2000-year existence. We visited remote towns to play against a visiting team from Bosnia and when it was needed, the boat would stop, and we would all jump overboard for a “cooling off” swim.
The girls embraced this opportunity and have returned to South Africa well-tanned, more experienced in the pool and better off for having been exposed to a different culture. Every athlete that went on tour has grown in both resilience and ability and this will stand them and our sport in good stead in future.