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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Saint Francis University’s Taylor Halbauer (So., Edmonton, Alberta/Mother Margaret Mary) is among a group of 21 NextGen athletes selected by the Water Polo Canada (WPC) National Team Program selected to train at the National Training Centre in Montreal.

A center, Halbauer is coming off a COVID-19 abbreviated freshman season in which she led the Red Flash in goals (40), steals (27), ejections drawn (65) and penalties drawn (17), and finished second in assists (three) in her first season. 

A member of the 18U Canadian National Team at the Women’s Youth World Championships in Serbia and the 17U Canadian National Team which won a bronze medal at the Youth Pan American Championships in Peru, she competed on the Alberta Provincial Team Member from 2014-2017.  Further, she garnered an array of individual honors: 2018 Western All-Star Team Selection, 2018 Western 19U Regular Season Second Top Scorer, the 2017 and 2018 Edmonton Tsunami Female Athlete of the Year, 2018 bronze medalist at 19U Canadian Nationals and top scorer honors (66 goals in 19 games) during the 2017 Western 16U National Championship League. 

Due to the pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding the hosting of competitions, the ability to train was considered paramount by Water Polo Canada to build the next generation of athletes and move towards the Paris 2024 quadrennial.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic has affected athletes on many levels, and some of them cannot play with their schools at the moment. We want to offer them an environment that fosters the growth and development of the younger generation, and offer our athletes training opportunities,” indicated Justin Oliveira, WPC High Performance Director.

“With this program, we are merging the end of the Tokyo Quadrennial and the beginning of the Paris quadrennial under the roof of the INS Quebec. We are sharing the vision, the culture and the foundation of the Senior National Team Program with the invited athletes to carry on outside of centralization. While identifying athletes for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic cycles, we are also looking to incorporate potential athletes to our current Olympic year. During these special times, I am grateful to have this opportunity to work on our program development,”added David Paradelo, Women’s National Team Head Coach.

Since September 21, the athletes have had the opportunity to train at National Centre facilities and take advantage of the services at the Institut National du Sport du Québec. Under the direction of NextGen Women’s Head Coach, Andrew Robinson, players experience the centralized program and share the pool with the Senior Women’s National Team. As part of the program, Senior Women’s National Team athletes will occasionally act as mentors and guest coaches.

This initiative will also bring new responsibilities for Robinson who will become the NextGen Women’s Head Coach. An assistant coach with the Senior Women’s National Team, he will lead the NextGen program, coaching and supervising the athletes.

“The whole staff is looking forward to working with this group, myself included. I believe the group has a great opportunity to learn and grow as a result of the training, but also from the mentorship provided by our Senior players. I’m looking forward to seeing the strides we can make as a group over the next four months, and the athletes continued development once they’ve returned to their regular training environments,” added Robinson.

Information courtesy Water Polo Canada

Collegiate Water Polo Association