Still less than a year old, Cairns Water Polo now have their first junior Queensland representative, Mel Lum, or as she is affectionately known as ‘Mini-Mel’.
Mel has been included in the Queensland Country side traveling to Albury for the upcoming 14&U Club Nationals. The tournament is a great opportunity for regional athletes to play against different teams from across Australia.
We chatted with Mini-Mel ahead of the 14 Club Nationals.
WPQ – Congratulations! It’s an exciting week for you. How did you find out about water polo in Cairns and why did you decide to go and play?
Mum went to Tobruk Pool, which is the pool that we swim at and she saw an advertisement that Mel Rippon was coming to run a water polo clinic and Mum thought I would enjoy it.
The first session with Mel, what did you learn and what got you hooked on the sport?
I guess I enjoyed throwing a ball around in the pool, I like team sports so it was another team sport to enjoy.
Mel Rippon mentioned that you train with Jesse and some of the older players in the Cairns team, is that a little bit intimidating or do you hold your own?
Sometimes it gets a little bit tiring but I’m playing in the women’s league and the ladies are really lovely.
Is that the new Fast Fives competition that’s happening? Are you learning lots of things from the older players?
Yeah, it’s a new competition. They are teaching me where I should be in the pool when to attack, when to defend, how to defend better and to stay on our players.
You’ve been included in the Queensland Country team, how did that come about?
Jesse shared an email from WPQ about a Queensland Country team for the 14 Club National’s and said that I should put my name forward. So Mum contacted Mel Rippon. (Mum) Yeah, I was a little worried as Little Mel hadn’t played any water polo before but Big Mel said it would a great opportunity for Little Mel and would love to have her on the team.
So are you excited about meeting the girls from the different regions?
Yeah, I’m really excited about traveling to somewhere new with a whole bunch of new people and hopefully have lifelong water polo friends. And maybe we can play more tournaments together as we grow up.
Is there anything that you’re wanting to learn whilst at club nationals?
I guess I’m here to learn as much as I can but also to have a good time whilst trying to improve my skills.
And Mum, are you excited about Mel going away for a couple of days?
I’m actually going down to visit some friends in Canberra, so I will be there for four days whilst Mel is away for six days. So it has worked out pretty well.
And how has the club taken the news? Are they excited that you’re flying the flag for Cairns Water Polo?
Yeah, they are excited that I’m going. They have been really supportive and trying to help me get ready. I’m really excited, I want to school over and done with! I’m going to miss out on the last three days of school, which isn’t a bad thing!
So you’ve just started water polo, what do you have to say for anyone who isn’t sure about getting into the pool?
Water polo is a really fun sport and you should definitely try it out.