#TuksWaterpolo: Tia Casswell is ready for the 2023 World Aquatics Women’s U20 Water Polo Champs challenge.

Posted on September 06, 2023

Tia Casswell will aim to set up goal-scoring opportunities when she plays for South Africa during the upcoming 2023 World Aquatics Women’s U20 Water Polo Championships in Portugal.

According to the Tuks second-year medical student, water polo is the ultimate game.

"There is that sense of unity. You are never playing for yourself. It is always about the team. You can do many little things to make a difference in the water, even without actually scoring a goal. Blocking the ball at a crucial time can make the difference between winning and losing. That is what I love about the game."

Casswell considers herself a versatile player with a strong arm, which means her passing is quite accurate.

"I can play about every position. Just don't let me play goalkeeper. I can't keep the ball from hitting the back of the net for the life of me.

"My best quality is my ability to read the game. I guess it comes from being naturally smart," Caswell jokes.

On a more serious note, she added that having a "sixth sense" in the water helps her pre-empt what the opponents might do. So, she is often able to foil their game plan.

"I have recently started spinning during a game."

Knowing many might not know what it means, Caswell explains, "When you have the ball, you go onto your opponent. Then, you spin around them to get in front of them. If you succeed, you are usually in an excellent position to score or set up a teammate to score," said Caswell, who also represented South Africa at the Junior World Championships.

Esihle Zondo is also another Tuks waterpolo player on the South African under-20 team. Earlier this year, she also represented South Africa at the World Aquatics Championships in July in Fukuoka, Japan.

It could be said that Zondo grew up as a "water baby." Her mom took her to her first swimming lesson when she was only six months old.

"I started playing water polo when I was in fourth grade." I love the physicality, strength, skill, and quick thinking required to be competitive as a player. My best quality as a player is my strength. I can play all positions and usually switch around a lot during a game, but as of last year, I got placed as a centre-forward/wing player."

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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