BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The University of Michigan’s Ava Morrant (Jr., Maple Ridge, British Columbia/Maple Ridge Secondary School) 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.
An attacker, Morrant has 28 goals, 16 assists, 13 drawn exclusions, 31 steals and six field blocks in 46 career games as she helped the Wolverines to the 2019 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship. In her freshman year of 2019, she racked up eight goals, four assists, three drawn exclusions, seven steals and three field blocks in 27 games as Michigan finished 23-9, claimed the CWPA Championship and tied for Fifth Place at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship hosted by Stanford University. Last year during a COVID-19 abbreviated 2020 season, she posted 20 goals, 12 assists, 10 drawn exclusions, 24 steals and three field blocks in helping the Maize & Blue to an 11-8 mark.
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