Reddam boys have a goal in mind

Members of the SA under-20 water polo side Sebastian Riley Nielsen and Jordon Harrod want to lead SA to greater heights in the sport of water polo.

Two Reddam House boys are keeping up their school’s proud legacy in the pool.

Reddam House Constantia is one of if not the best in the country when it comes to producing water polo talent with a couple of alumni representing the country.

In the recent Tokyo Olympics games, three alumni, Timothy Rezelman, Megan Sileno and Hannah Calvert represented South Africa.

Sebastian Riley Nielsen and Jordon Harrod are the latest water polo sensations looking to make their own mark in the sport.

The Grade 12 pupils, now preparing for their matric exams, recently came back from Prague, Czech Republic, where they participated in the FINA World Junior Championships.

What was special about their selection in the under-20s was the fact that they are still under-18 and were the youngest squad members.

The selection though did not come as a surprise as both teens have been part of the national team set-up in the junior divisions.

Nielsen, 18, says the physical aspect of water polo is what makes him feel at home in the pool and he has been playing the sport since the age of 10.

He credits his development in the sport to the coaching that they have been receiving from a young age that focused a lot on prioritising basics in the pool.

Even though water polo is at a disadvantage when it comes to funding, Nielsen is optimistic the sport has the potential to be recognised as a major sport in the country and attract numbers similar to the likes of rugby.

“It would be nice if we could be like a national sport. And as things currently are, we have to pay for everything, even when we go on national camps,” he said.

Harrod, who is also 18, decided to focus on only one sporting code from a young age, after following a few of his friends who were playing water polo, a decision that is now paying dividends as he has grown to be a key member of the South African team set-ups.

Competition wise, Harrod says even though it was tough, being the youngest in the team was not a factor as their competitive abilities allowed them to hustle with the big boys and hold their own.

“It has been a very good experience, and the sport has made me have a lot of friends from far away places. Being part of the under-20s means I get to meet a lot of people from different parts of the world,” said Harrod.

The two youngsters helped SA to a 12th place finish in the Junior Championships, the highest the country has placed in the games having finished 14th in 2019 in Kuwait City games.

The two are now looking to improve to an even better position when the same games take place in two years time.

Not only are they looking for better placement in junior world championships but the duo are looking to be part of the next Olympic games in Paris.