Ottawa, July 28, 2023 - Canada took the 7th overall position in the women’s tournament at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships held in Fukuoka, Japan, ending the tournament with a 14-12 win following a penalty shootout (10-10 after regular time) against Greece, the 2022 European Championship finalists.
The Canadian women therefore moved up two spots from where they finished at the last edition of the World Aquatics Championships, in 2022 in Budapest, Hungary, where they had taken the 9th spot. This 7th-place finish is the second time in the past seven editions of the World Aquatics Championships that Canada has finished in the top seven in the women’s water polo tournament. This is also the best Canadian performance on the women’s side at the World Aquatics Championships since the 4th position the team registered in 2017 in Budapest.
In Fukuoka, the Canadian Women’s Team opened their tournament with an 11-10 loss against Hungary (the silver medalists at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships and the bronze medalists at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games). Canada then defeated New Zealand (10th in 2022), Japan and South Africa, before losing 17-10 to the Netherlands (the 2022 bronze medalists as well as the silver medalists at the recent World Cup Finals, and gold medalists in Fukuoka) in the quarterfinals. The Canadians closed out the tournament with a loss against the USA (the gold medalists at the last three Olympic Games and the last four World Championships), followed by an exciting win over Greece (7th in 2022).
“I think we started the tournament well and we ended it well,” said Water Polo Canada (WPC) Women’s National Team Head Coach David Paradelo. “We had that middle part where we played two amazing teams, the Dutch and the USA, which I think were the top two teams in the tournament. It pushes us to reflect on what's next. We played great games against Hungary and Greece and it's nice to finish with a win, and to see that we can perform well against some of the best in the competition. But we still need to get better.”
"There have definitively been some ups and downs," pointed out team captain Emma Wright, who was named Player of the Game against Greece. "We had a few good games - obviously, winning against Greece, and a close game against Hungary. The games against the USA and the Netherlands showed that we still have a lot to improve on, which is what we will be looking forward to doing now."
“We’re very pleased with our Canadian Women’s Team reintegrating the top seven group at these World Championships,” said WPC’s High Performance Director, Olivier Pineau. "While we faced a couple of tough losses, our Women’s Team demonstrated once again that they can compete against many of the other top teams in the world, and that they have the level to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“Just like on the men’s side, it’s very encouraging to see young players coming into their own and stepping up in a big way to complement the work of our more experienced players. After a few weeks of well-earned recovery, wewill soon be moving into the next phases of our centralization program, and making further adjustments to ensure that we can consistently reproduce the level of excellence that we’ve shown to be capable of at various times throughout this tournament."
Road to Paris 2024
The 2023 World Aquatics Championships were the first opportunity for all countries to earn a spot among the 10 teams that will compete in the women’s tournament at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
At the 2023 World Aquatics Championships, the Netherlands and Spain qualified for Paris 2024 by reaching the final in Fukuoka.
The next qualification opportunity for the Canadian team will be through winning gold at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games set to be held this fall, in a tournament where their top opposition will likely come from Team USA. In Fukuoka, Canada fell by a 16-4 score against the Americans.
“We had a big loss against the USA, which I think are one of the top two teams in the world,” said Paradelo. “We have to roll up our sleeves and we will now go back to our centralization at the end of August. There is a lot of work to do and we will need to be in better condition going into the Pan American Games than we are right now. We will have more time to prepare and it will make a huge difference for us.”
"There will be a lot of pressure," added Wright. "We will work as hard as we can leading up to the tournament as we did for the World Championships. We have our sights set on qualifying. We will keep that in our minds and make sure we do everything possible to get ourselves into that spot."
The final opportunity for the Canadian Women’s National Team to qualify for Paris 2024, if necessary, will be to finish among the top two teams at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, February 2-18, among the nations that will not have already qualified for the Olympic Games. A top three finish at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games should be enough to qualify the team for Doha.
Water Polo Canada Women’s National Team for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships
BAKOC, Verica (Toronto, ON)
BROWNE, Serena (Pointe-Claire, QC)
CARROLL, Floranne (Montréal, QC)
CREVIER, Axelle (Montréal, QC)
GAUDREAULT, Jessica (Ottawa, ON)
GUÈVREMONT, Daphné (Montréal, QC)
JAFFE, Rachael (Toronto, ON)
LAROCHE, Shae (Winnipeg, MB)
LEMAY-LAVOIE, Elyse (Montréal, QC)
MCDOWELL, Blaire (Fernie, B.C.)
McKELVEY, Hayley (North Delta, B.C.)
MIMIDES, Maria Eleni (Marilia) (Glyfada, GRE, & Toronto)
PAUL, Kindred (Spruce Grove, AB)
VULPISI, Clara (Montréal, QC)
WRIGHT, Emma (Whitby, ON)
Head Coach: David Paradelo
Assistant Coaches: Cora Campbell & Stefano Posterivo
Massage Therapist: Manon Prieur
Physiotherapist: Brian Li
Strength and Conditioning Coach (for the training camps): Nicolas Bourrel
Video Coach: Ethan D’Souza
Sport Scientist (in Japan): Lily Dong
Team Leader: Mitch Kaufman
High Performance Director: Olivier Pineau
More information regarding the female athletes is available on Water Polo Canada’s website at https://waterpolo.ca/content/senior-womens-national-team.
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