Player Column – Raney Remme Round 6

COMING to Australia to play for the Torpedoes has turned out to be a great decision so far. This is my first experience outside of the United States and I’m very happy to be in a place where everyone is really friendly and helpful.

It also helps not having to learn a different language, although everyone here has an accent in my opinion. It has been fun to be “foreign” and be the one with an accent for a change! I played water polo for Long Beach State University in Southern California where we had many foreign players that came over to join the team. I am now experiencing what it felt like to be in their shoes coming to a different country to play.

SoCal was in the middle of winter when I left, so upon arrival in Perth I was wearing clothing for a different climate that I quickly needed to change out of. It was a quick adjustment to the hotter weather as it doesn’t get extremely cold in SoCal, but this winter had been one of the more cold and rainy ones on record. I’m really enjoying the sunshine!

I didn’t know much about Australia before, but I did know that the bugs can be a lot bigger and there are animals you should steer clear of. I was VERY nervous about the spiders. I’d seen a lot of articles on Snapchat and Facebook right before coming about LARGE spiders being seen or snakes in toilets, which was also very unsettling. Reality is that I haven’t had as many run ins as I’d thought, thankfully! There was one morning where a large spider was found by my roommate but she killed it before I had to see it (thanks Alex!)

Water polo in Australia is pretty different from what I’m used to in the States. The rules are different from NCAA to FINA rules used in Australia so that has taken time to get used to but overall it was a pretty easy transition. Especially with the new FINA rules introduced this season. There are a lot more exclusions and penalties called making defence a little more tricky but offence very advantageous.

I got excluded quite a bit at first but have adjusted quickly. There is also a lot more freedom in terms of system of play with Torps, that I didn’t have at Long Beach. At Long Beach we planned out offensive attacks mostly around our centre forward (Alex Massier whom also was supposed to be playing with Torps this season. Unfortunately she broke her wrist and hasn’t been able to play yet), so coming to a team where we have no true centre forward, has been a little challenging for me. Particularly because of all the movement we implement on offence as a result of our lack of a centre forward. I’m still adjusting to that but it has gotten easier as we have progressed in our season.

Thankfully we have a few players in Tayla Walsh, Sam Shead, myself and now Heather Laird who have been playing centre forward to help give our offense a bit of a structure.

We have a really well rounded team in my opinion because everyone is a threat in the water. We’ve played against teams that have standout players so it was easy who we needed to target defensively, unlike ours where goals come from all players. I’m proud of everyone for stepping up in games regardless of age or experience who take the shots and put away goals. It has showed teams they can’t underestimate anyone on our team.

Our first two road trips were great experiences and we got some good games under our belt to set us up for a good run this season. Sydney was tough because of the amount of games and lack of subs for the first two days, but the results were good and showed how fit our team is compared to others. I personally used that road trip to get myself into better game shape, as I was a late addition to the team.

I found out about the opportunity to come play in Perth and was on a flight here over a period of about six days… so everything happened pretty quickly. I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to prepare physically but thankfully due to my time at Long Beach State and the lessons I learned about mental strength I was able to jump right back into hours of training pretty easily. It also helped to have a previous teammate here to help me catch up.

The first game against Sydney Uni was tough but we came back pretty well in the second game and played well despite the adversity thrown at us with Tayla getting injured and having to leave mid game. We made a few adjustments to our overall game plan and it paid off. Drummoyne was a loss in shootout, which was tough but also a good game as we expected them to be strong.

The two wins against Cronulla were much needed and have definitely helped build confidence for us moving forward. The first Cronulla game was a bit rocky but once Sam and Dayna joined us it was easier to have more experienced players touch the water and more subs for physical relief.

The Adelaide road trip was short but extremely sweet, as we rolled away with two wins that weekend.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into my first Derby which I actually preferred. I feel like when you have certain expectations of a team and the players they boast, going into a match it can affect your mentality. It’s like when we would play Stanford at Long Beach State. You know that they’ve won countless national championships and have been a top 3 nationally ranked team for decades. With a team full of Olympians like Maggie Steffens an Olympic MVP. Knowing a team is stacked going into the match messes with your mental strength and puts pre conceived ideas of how it will go in your head. It was a comfort to go into the Freo game with a clean slate and just play MY game. I wasn’t worried about who they had or how they’ve done in the past because I literally had no idea.

Water polo is a huge mental strength game and it’s tough to keep a positive outlook in situations where you know to expect struggle. In my mind, we are the greatest team in National League because we are the only team I know.

We are strong and have extremely talented players who are very fit. I’m looking forward to playing our first home game against Balmain and the rest of our program being at home in familiar pools with our fanbase cheering us on!