Libby Magann, who coached and captained the winning team in a national water polo tournament at Albury earlier this year, is preparing to travel to Hawaii to compete in next month’s 42nd Annual Hawaiian Invitational Water Polo Tournament.
At Albury, Libby’s NSW Country water polo team was unbeaten throughout the Australian Country Water Polo Championships, defeating the Australian Defence Force team 14-6 in the final.
Libby, who works at the University of New England, has received sponsorship from Sport UNE and Armidale Dumaresq Council to help her compete in the Hawaiian tournament as a member of the Australian Country team. “I’m excited to be representing Australia in the Country team for the seventh year altogether, and for the third year in Hawaii,” she said.
The Hawaiian Invitational Tournament, from the 9th to the 15th of August, is the world’s largest and longest-running international invitational water polo tournament, with more than 100 teams from around the world competing – including some of the strongest college teams from the United States.
A graduate in Applied Science, Libby moved from the Central Coast to Armidale a year ago to take up a position as Research Support Officer at UNE. “This is the 19th year that I’ve been playing water polo,” she said, “after starting when I was at school in Tamworth. Through water polo I’ve made so many friends – in all States, and overseas. The camaraderie with your team-mates develops into life-long friendships.”
She played National League water polo for Sydney University and the Hunter Hurricanes for three years from 2003 to 2005. Then, in 2007-08, she was in Hungary playing professionally for a team in the small town of Szentes. “It was a fantastic opportunity,” she said, “which provided me with experience I can use in coaching younger players.”
This is the third year that she has coached a NSW Country team that has won the Australian Country Championships, and it’s as a coach that she’s hoping to continue in water polo. “I find it satisfying to experience the enthusiasm of younger players,” she said, “and to hear what they’ve got to say.”
“I love anything to do with exercise and fitness,” said Libby, whose regular swimming, running, and gym training in preparation for the tournament in Hawaii has been keeping her fit through the winter.
She’s looking forward to the challenges of Hawaii. “It’s another great opportunity to connect with world-class international athletes and make new friendships within the Australian Country team,” she said. “As we’ve barely played together so far, we’ll need to come together as a team to be competitive – especially against the experienced American teams.
“I really enjoy playing at the university pools in Hawaii: in particular, there’s one on a hill overlooking the reef off Waikiki – an unbelievable sight as you’re jumping into the pool.”
THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here expands to show Libby Magann at Sport UNE.