By Dasha Kuprienko
Wintec Journalism student
It might sound like every kid’s nightmare but parent-coaches are popping up everywhere poolside in the search for water polo gold at the NZCT AIMS Games.
Local Tauranga identity Kellie Low has been coaching Aquinas College for seven years now but it’s her first year training goalie daughter Anna, 13.
Once a week after school hours, Kellie’s family extends to a dozen of children.
“For me it’s about the kids, absolutely,” she said. “They want to play, they want to have fun. We call it an Aquinus water polo family.”
Having your mother as a coach is “easier in a way” says Anna, although she added her mother can be a strict trainer sometimes.
“You don’t feel as sad when Mum tells you off,” she said, presumably because she’s used to it.
Aquinas College team trains at the Tauranga pools once a week, increasing it to twice a week as the AIMS Games got closer.
Aquinas were playing Mount Maunganui in one semifinal tonight, while Diocesan School and Baradene College were squaring off in the other.
Meanwhile, Murray’s Bay Intermediate coach Ben Andersen is dad to one of the girls from their open team.
Jazz loves having dad as a coach, although s reckons he may or may not single her out for special attention.
“Sometimes he [is a bit hard on me but I think it just makes me a better player,” Jazz said. “Dad pushes me a lot harder than he does other kids, because he wants me to be really good.”
The past 10 weeks have been difficult for Jazz – she dislocated her thumb and had her first AIMS Games training three weeks ago.
Andersen commented that his daughter’s recent injury should not affect the performance and he expects the team to bring a gold medal home.
Murray’s Bay Intermediate had the strongest girls’ squad in the last year’s Games nut are back this year to give the open grade a crack.