Water polo boys now battle hardened
National Under-19 boys water polo team coach, Lance Rochester, said Jamaica's gold medal performance at the CARIFTA games can spur the team on to more medals at the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) tournament next month.
Jamaica defeated hosts The Bahamas 8-7 in the CARIFTA final last month. Rochester said the experience of beating overseas teams proved invaluable before turning their attention to the CCCAN tournament.
"The team learnt a lot because a lot of them hadn't played against a foreign team in many years," Rochester said. "They got to experience what it's like to play unfamiliar opponents. Most of their practice games were against people they know."
Captain Keith-Jordan Wilkinson said the team became battle hardened during the CARIFTA final, which will aid them in the future. He said Jamaica had a poor start to the game but were forced to toughen up after a stern team talk from their coach.
"We started off behind, unfortunately, and that was pretty nerve-racking," Wilkinson said. "It's never nice to start off behind any team. At around half time we got a good talking to from our coach. He told us to pick up on our shortcomings.
"He was trying to wake us up because we were playing like we were sleeping, playing like we were dead. We came back in the second half and scored a few goals back-to-back and got back into it."
Wilkinson said the team made many mistakes in the first half of the game but have learnt from the experience.
Although he will not be a part of next month's team, Wilkinson backs Jamaica to not let mistakes set in again but, if they do, they will now know how to cope with them.