Jamaica U14 water polo team claim bronze
Jamaica Coed Under-14 water polo team won the bronze medal at the South Florida Invitational Water polo tournament, which ended at Coral Spring on Sunday.
"We got a bronze medal from the 14 -and-under team," a gleeful Lance Rochester, the assistant coach, told The Gleaner by phone from the poolside minutes after the tournament ended on Sunday.
"The game just finished. We played Hialeah Storm and beat them 12-5 and we got the bronze," he said.
Of the three Jamaican teams that participated, the youngest carried the most expectations and they did not disappoint.
"For the 14s, we were looking forward to a medal because we had a 14-and-under team that came to a development tournament last year and got a bronze, so we were expecting good placement from them.
"What affected them was a few lapses. We would have a bad quarter and it would set us back and we would play catch-up. But it all came down to their experience and the fact that we don't get enough competition locally," Rochester commented. "But this means that we are on the right track when you look at the performance of the younger age group because we were very competitive in a US competition."
The Jamaicans, led by standout captain Julian Kennedy and Darren Gordon, beat Raiders 14-7 in the opening game Friday. They then defeated Bahamas 17-10 on Saturday before losing their final group game 8-4 to SFWP, although they still topped the group.
In Sunday's second round, they lost their first game16-6 to Royhill Seals but returned to beat Hialeah Storm to capture the bronze.
Jamaica's Under-16 team finished 14th out of 16 teams and the Under-19 placed 11th from 12 teams.
Although they did not fare as expected, Rochester said their objectives - preparation for the CARIFTA and CAC Games - were met.
"For the older age groups, it was a significant improvement from last year. The scorelines came down significantly, so it means we are in good stead when we talk about re-entering the CARIFTA Games and the Central American and Caribbean Games.
"This tournament was to set a benchmark and see what we need to work on - and that is clear for the coaches now - but it was a very positive experience," he said.