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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Water Polo Canada announced that former Indiana University athlete Shae (Fournier) La Roche earned a spot on the Canada women’s water polo team that will compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, while fellow former Hoosier Jessica Gaudreault claimed an alternate position.

This is the first time since 2004 that Canada has qualified a women’s water polo team for the Olympic Games as 10 nations will compete in the Olympic tournament during the Tokyo Games. Canada qualified for the Olympics courtesy a silver medal at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

A 2014 graduate of Indiana, La Roche (2011-2014) is one of the most decorated players in Hoosiers’ water polo history. She holds the top two school records for single-season goals (95 in 2014, 83 in 2013) and career goals (305), and is second in IU history in career steals (311). She was the 2014 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Player of the Year, and earned second team Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) All-America and College Sport Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) First-Team Academic All-America honors. La Roche is one of five players in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history to score 300 or more goals in her career.

The Most Valuable Player of the 2014 CWPA Championship hosted by Bucknell University for leading the Hoosiers to an 11-10 victory over Princeton University, La Roche is among a select group of Indiana women’s water polo players who won a pair of league titles during their tenure. In 2011 as a freshman, La Roche helped her squad down the University of Michigan, 5-3, at home in Bloomington for the program’s first title since taking home the 2003 crown.

She had an impressive junior international career, winning gold medals at the 2008 and 2010 Pan American Junior Championships to go with a sixth place finish at the 2009 FINA World Junior Championships. At the senior level, she competed in two FINA World Championships (2015, 2017) and captured a silver medal at the 2017 FINA World League Super Final. She also helped Canada win silver at the 2015 Pan American Games. She has made two appearances at the Summer Universiade, just missing the podium with fourth place finishes in both 2009 and 2013. She made her senior international debut in 2014, competing in the FINA Water Polo World League.

A Silver Medalist at the 2019 Pan Am Games and a 2018 graduate of Indiana, Gaudreault was a three-time CWPA All-Conference First Team selection (2013, 2014, 2018) and a 2018 ACWPC Honorable Mention All-America pick.  She concluded her tenure at Indiana in 2018 with 975 saves, 97 steals, 35 assists and 777 goals against in 117 games (3,484 minutes).

During her previous international appearances for Canada, she earned a pair of gold medals at the Junior Pan American Championships in 2008 and 2010 as well as back-to-back ninth place finishes at the 2011 and 2013 FINA World Junior Championships. In 2012 she helped Canada to a fifth place finish at the inaugural FINA World Youth Championships. As a senior competitor, Gaudreault was named Most Valuable Goaltender at the 2015 UANA Cup, confirming Canada’s qualification for the FINA World Championships.

She was part of the team that captured silver at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.  In 2017, she helped Canada win silver at the FINA World League Super Final and was named Most Valuable Goaltender of the tournament.

During her time between the pipes for Canada, she has helped her homeland finish among the Top Eight at the FINA World League (2014 – sixth; 2017 – second; 2018 – fourth; 2019 – seventh) and claim a pair of FINA Junior World Championship ninth place marks (2011, 2013).  In addition, Gaudreault aided Canada in taking 11th (2015) and fourth (2017) place at the FINA World Championships.

The pair are among six future/former Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) student-athletes named as members/alternates to a nation’s Olympic team as incoming Bucknell University recruit Boati Motau and former Lindenwood University women’s collegiate club player Hannah Muller will suit up for South Africa.  Princeton University alumna Ashleigh Johnson (United States) and Hartwick College Hall of Fame inductee Bronwen Knox (Australia) also join La Roche and Gaudreault as the total marks an all-time high for the league in an Olympic Games.

The Canadian water polo team will open its Olympic tournament with a match against Australia on July 24 (Day 1). The final day of women’s water polo matches will be August 7 (Day 15) and will include classification matches and the medal matches. Water polo will be played at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.

Collegiate Water Polo Association