Water Polo Canada Women's National Team Wins Silver at Santiago 2023 Pan American Games

Nov. 05, 2023

Ottawa, November 5, 2023 - The Water Polo Canada Women’s National Team won the silver medal while the Men’s Team took fourth place, Saturday, on the last day of competition at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

On the women’s side, Canada lost 20-11 to the USA in the final, earning their sixth consecutive silver medal at the Pan American Games. Previously, the Canadian Women’s National Team had won a gold medal in 1999 at the first Pan American Games to include women’s water polo, which were held in Winnipeg.

"It's definitely hard to lose and get a medal, but I think that our team showed that we have a lot of fire and a lot of heart," said team captain Emma Wright, who was expelled from the game in the first quarter. "It was hard, but I'm really proud of how all the girls fought until the end of the game and of the way we played.”

“I thought the girls came out strong, with a good attitude, good mentality and good communication. That’s how we wanted to start. And we had no fear in this game,” said Water Polo Canada Women’s National Team Head Coach David Paradelo. “We played the team that is the most organized on offense, and it showed today. Some situations that happened throughout the game, and throughout the first half in particular, made it hard for us to keep going at full strength for the entire game. We ended up with very few subs but they fought their hearts out together.”

The Canadian Women’s National Team will have one remaining opportunity to qualify as one of the 10 teams to be included in the women’s tournament at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and that will come at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, February 2-18. To do so, the team will have to finish in the top two on the women’s side, among the teams that have not already qualified for the Olympic Games.

“During this tournament, we made some mistakes, committed some faults, but I think that we were able to grow throughout the tournament, something which was really important for us,” pointed out Emma Wright. “It's also going to be super important to remember all those lessons that we learned heading towards the world championships. And make sure that we take every practice, every day, as a chance to grow. I think that we have a lot of small things to work on, but I have faith in our team and I think that we're going to be able to pull it off at the end.”

Fourth place for the Men’s Team
On the men’s side, Canada finished in fourth position following a 12-10 loss against Argentina in the bronze medal game played Saturday.

Because Canada did not finish in the top two in the final ranking at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games tournament, the Canadian Men’s Team did not qualify for participation in the 2024 World Aquatics Championships, which would have represented their last opportunity to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“It’s a very hard loss for us,” said team captain Jérémie Blanchard. “It was already very hard for us to come back from the one we lost in the semi-final. We thought we were motivated and we wanted to win this bronze medal and finish the tournament on a good note. But we didn't manage to do it. It's very hard to digest.”

“But I see a lot of potential in this group,” added Blanchard. “I believe in it and I've seen it these past few years. Maybe we lack some consistency in our tournaments. We have to learn from this and grow, and I still see a lot of good things for us in the future.”

"I’m not happy with the result of this tournament," said Water Polo Canada Men's National Team Head Coach Pat Oaten. "I'm not taking any credit away from the other teams, but we did not play to the level we needed to achieve our desired and expected result. We are a better team than we showed over the last two games. There are no excuses here. We missed a huge opportunity to keep the momentum of this program going forward. Now, we will review and make the necessary adjustments to succeed at this level. I believe very strongly in this program. These athletes are committed to winning and playing good water polo and this is why this result hurts so much. We will continue to work towards our objectives over this next cycle and, with the support of everyone involved, we will achieve some great things."

Water Polo Canada National Teams for the 2023 World Aquatics Championships
Women’s Team
Verica Bakoc (Toronto, Ont.) - Mavericks
Serena Browne (Pointe-Claire, Que.) - DDO
Floranne Carroll (Montréal, Que.) - CAMO
Axelle Crevier (Montréal, Que.) - CAMO
Jessica Gaudreault (Ottawa, Ont.) - Capital Wave
Rae Lekness (Calgary, Alta.) - Calgary Renegades
Elyse Lemay-Lavoie (Montréal, Que.) - CAMO
Blaire McDowell (Fernie, B.C.) - Water Polo Saskatchewan
Hayley McKelvey (North Delta, B.C.) - Pacific Storm
Kindred Paul (Spruce Grove, Alta.) - Edmonton Tsunami
Clara Vulpisi (Montréal, Que.) - CAMO
Emma Wright (Whitby, Ont.) - Scarborough Shadow Water polo

Alternate athlete:
Daphné Guèvremont (Montréal, Que) - travelling - CAMO

Men’s Team
Jérémie Blanchard (Longueuil, Que.) - Club de waterpolo Saint-Lambert
Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (Repentigny, Que.) - CAMO
Jérémie Côté (Pointe-Claire, Que.) - DDO
Bogdan Djerkovic (Ottawa, Ont.) - Ottawa Titans
Reuel D'Souza (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) - Pacific Storm
Aleksa Gardijan (Gatineau, Que.) - Club de water-polo de Gatineau
Leo Hachem (Montréal, Que.) - WPC
Matthew Halajian (Calgary, Alta.) - Fraser Valley
Brody McKnight (Regina, Sask.) - Team Sask
Jason O'Donnell (Beaconsfield, Que.) - Tiburon Waterpolo
Gaelan Patterson (North Vancouver, B.C.) - Pacific Storm
Milan Radenovic (Montréal, Que.) - Mavericks

Alternate athlete:
Bryant Joudrie (Calgary, Alta.) - travelling - Calgary Torpedoes

Cora Campbell (Calgary, Alta.) - Assistant Coach, women’s team
Pat Oaten (Pointe-Claire, Que.) - Head Coach, men’s team
David Paradelo (Montreal, Que.) - Head Coach, women’s team
Gyula Toth (Calgary, Alta.) - Assistant Coach, men’s team

Support Staff:
Mitch Kaufman (Kitchener, Ont.) - Team Leader
David Lapins (Gatineau, Que.) - Video, men’s team
Shae LaRoche (Winnipeg, Man.) - Video, women’s team
Brian Li (Montreal, Que.) - Physiotherapist, women’s team
David Lapins (Gatineau, QC) - Video, men’s team
Sunny Marshall (Toronto, Ont.) - Athletic Therapist, men’s team
Olivier Pineau (Montreal, Que.) - High Performance Director
Manon Prieur (Montreal, Que.) - Massage Therapist, women’s team

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