THE Wonthaggi Underwater Hockey Club will sport a large representation of junior players at the Australian Underwater Hockey Nationals tournament to be held on the Gold Coast in January 2017.
The Under 19s Victorian State Team was selected recently from regions all over Victoria and nine of the 12 players chosen come from the Wonthaggi Club.
The club is very pleased to have such a strong representation and the team has been attending training both locally and in Melbourne since the selection process.
The Nationals will be held over seven days in January on the Gold Coast and coach David McFee believes that they have a strong chance of bringing home the gold.
Tasmania and Western Australia have always been the most threatening opposition also sending strong teams and so the excitement is building as the tournament approaches.
Underwater hockey involves wearing a mask, snorkel, fins and holding a small hockey stick approximately 30cm long.
Players hold their breath and duck dive down to swim along the bottom of the pool, pushing and manoeuvring a 1kg plastic coated lead puck into a goal tray at the end of the pool.
It is an unusual team sport offering many benefits such as team play, fitness and friendship and is played at the Wonthaggi Pool on a Thursday night from 7pm.
In most sports the harder you try and the more you do, the more you breathe.
In underwater hockey, the more you do and the harder you work, the less you breathe.
It is a great sport for surfers and divers as it improves your breath hold.
Players include many ex-club swimmers who want to keep swimming and use their skills in a different area.
All are welcome to attend and give this wonderful and challenging sport a try.
Meanwhile, Pat Wishart and Gary O’Connor were presented with life memberships to the Wonthaggi Underwater Hockey Club for more than 30 years of service to the club.
Pat Wishart was the first coach of a Victorian Junior Underwater Hockey team to go to a national competition in 1991.
Pat also coached the Victorian U/19 Hockey Team when they won the National Title in 2007.
Pat and Gary have played at many Country Titles which involved towns such as Geelong, Warragul, Portland, Torquay, Ballarat and Wonthaggi.
They have also played at the Victorian State Titles on many occasions.
It is great to have their experience at the club to be shared with younger members.
Wonthaggi well represented at underwater hockey nationals