A Rollercoaster Day of Emotions: Canadian Women's Water Polo Team Ends Up Qualifying for the Olympic Tournament in Paris

Feb. 16, 2024

After a loss against Italy, Canada’s situation changes following South Africa’s forfeit

Ottawa, February 16, 2024 - The Water Polo Canada Women's National Team, as it turns out, will end up taking part in the Olympic tournament in Paris this summer after South Africa forfeited its allocated spot at the end of the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Friday.

The change of situation arose a few hours only after the Canadian Team lost 18-12 to Italy in one last matchup at the 2024 World Aquatic Championships where the winner, amongst the two teams, was going to earn the last available qualifying spot for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

However, South Africa, which finished 14th out of 16 teams at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships, announced at the end of the women’s water polo competition that they will not use their allocated spot for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. South Africa was qualified for Paris as the top ranked, and also the only country from the African continent, to participate in the 2024 World Aquatic Championships, which also served as the continental Olympic qualification process for Africa.

As stated in the World Aquatics “Water Polo - Paris 2024 Qualification System” (https://www.worldaquatics.com/competitions/paris-2024-water-polo-info), “any unused quota places will be reallocated to the next highest placed NOC (National Olympic Committee) according to the ranking of the World Aquatics Championships Doha 2024”, which, in this case, is Canada, which finished in 8th place.

“Today was a rollercoaster with ups and downs, for sure,” said Team Captain Emma Wright. “Against Italy, it was definitively a disappointing game. But I think once the dust settles, obviously it's really big that we got that spot at the Olympics. We know that we have a lot to do after this tournament. I think we're just going to keep pushing forward and do better at the Olympics.”

“It's not really the result we wanted to have today, but the objective was still achieved in the sense that we officially qualified for the Olympic Games,” said Axelle Crevier. “I think that now, it will be a way of reflecting, of growing into all of this, to have a better performance in Paris. We're still happy and we finished in the top 8 in the world, so in a sense, we deserve to be there. »

“The game today didn't go according to plan,” assessed Water Polo Canada’s Women’s Head Coach, David Paradelo. “I think we made a lot of reactive decisions throughout the game, both on offense and on defense. It was a very stressful game, of course, which was supposed to be for the last ticket to Paris.

“And then, the good news came at the end of the day, so it was a huge change in emotions. It’s so difficult to say what emotional state we are in right now, because I think we went through all of them today, way too much. But of course, we are happy that we can go to the Olympics and prove to ourselves that we are better than what we did at this tournament. We are better, and the girls, with all their hard work, deserve this so much. We'll make sure that we make the country and the sport proud when we go there.”

"We're so incredibly proud of this Team,” added Water Polo Canada’s High Performance Director Olivier Pineau. “The team fought tooth and nail throughout this entire tournament, and they more than deserve to be in Paris. Our placement here is what allowed us to seize this newly opened spot for the Games. We will take advantage of this great opportunity and work hard to deliver a historic performance in Paris."

Canadian Women’s National Team for the 2024 World Aquatics Championships
BAKOC, Verica (Toronto, ON) - Mavericks
BROWNE, Serena (Pointe-Claire, QC) - DDO
CARROLL, Floranne (Montréal, QC) - CAMO
CREVIER, Axelle (Montréal, QC) - CAMO
GAUDREAULT, Jessica (Ottawa, ON) - Capital Wave
GUÈVREMONT, Daphné (Montréal, QC) - CAMO
LA ROCHE, Shae (Winnipeg, MB) - Winnipeg Bushido/EAU Laval
LEKNESS, Rae (Calgary, AB) - Calgary Renegades
LEMAY-LAVOIE, Elyse (Montréal, QC) - CAMO
MCDOWELL, Blaire (Fernie, B.C.) - Water Polo Saskatchewan
McKELVEY, Hayley (North Delta, B.C.) - Pacific Storm
MIMIDES, Maria Eleni (Marilia) (Glyfada, GRE, & Toronto, ON) - DDO
PAUL, Kindred (Spruce Grove, AB) - Edmonton Tsunami - Edmonton Tsunami
VULPISI, Clara (Montréal, QC) - CAMO
WRIGHT, Emma (Whitby, ON) - Scarborough Shadow Water polo

Alternate: DAVIS, Lucy (Port Moody, B.C.) - Pacific Storm

Water Polo Canada Women’s National Team Support Staff for the 2024 World Aquatics Championships
Head Coach: David Paradelo
Assistant Coaches: Cora Campbell & Stefano Posterivo
Massage Therapist: Manon Prieur
Physiotherapist: Brian Li
Mental Performance Coach (preparatory training camp): Sommer Christie
Video Coach: Francisco Zelaya
Team Manager: Mitch Kaufman
High Performance Director: Olivier Pineau

Hélène Painchaud from Montréal, QC, is attending the 2024 World Aquatics Championships as a referee.

More information is available on Water Polo Canada’s website at https://waterpolo.ca/content/doha-2024.

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