Thomson keen to keep developing with Torps

VAUGHN Thomson is bringing a fresh approach to the UWA Torpedoes women in the 2019 OVO Australian Water Polo League season with the South African more than happy with the way things have progressed since moving down under.

Thomson originally only came to Western Australia because his partner Sam Shead had made the move to continue her water polo career.

He didn’t think he would end up making the move as well initially given the stability he had back home as a player and coach in South African water polo for more than 25 years.

Thomson had also set up Staunch Water Polo company so was well settled, but the life in Perth soon seemed too good to refuse and he made the decision to make it a permanent transition.


He linked up immediately with UWA Water Polo and now is in his first season coaching the women’s team, making a successful start with four wins from seven road games to date.

“My girlfriend Sam came out as an import four or five years ago, and then when she was out here I came out to watch her a couple of times and met with Damian and Peter while I was here,” Thomson said.

“They found out that I do a little bit of coaching and they helped us move out here, then I started coaching at the club for three seasons. But when Scott came over there wasn’t really a spot for me and I moved to Triton before I met with Peter and he invited me back. That’s how it all started.

“It has been something I wanted to do. Two or three seasons ago Peter did ask if I’d be interested, but I probably wasn’t ready at the stage even though I wanted to do it at some point.

“I did think I needed to learn about the goings on in Australia and the system which I wasn’t ready with at that point. But it was something I wanted to do and now am enjoying even though it’s obviously a challenge.”

That doesn’t mean it’s not a constant learning curve for Thomson both in terms of some of the intricacies of water polo in Australia but also as he becomes accustomed to coaching women.

“Learning about water polo in Australia is a big thing but I’d also never coached ladies until I arrived here,” Thomson said.

“I had only coached by helping out and spent the last 20 years before that coaching boys and men, so that has been a big adjustment. With the ladies there’s a lot of other things you have to worry and it can be challenging in different ways, I won’t lie.

“It’s a bit of an eye-opener but you are constantly learning. It’s not so much about treating them differently, but you might just need to deliver the message differently.

“Some ladies I can deliver the message to and they know, but then there’s others where I have to drum it into them by telling them four or five times. Picking up that stuff and learning to read the players in the team has been a challenge.”

In terms of the differences between water polo from South Africa to Australia, Thomson sees only positives from what he’s finding out about making the move.

“The differences on this side are good for me coming across whereas on that side we don’t have the same amount of people involved or water space or coaches,” Thomson said.

“Everything is on a smaller scale and there’s probably not the same amount of expertise either in South Africa even though we have some different imports who have brought quite a lot.

“Talent-wise there’s probably not much difference, but primary schools in South Africa you can’t get hold of the kids because of the traditional sports rugby and cricket.

“They start a lot later than here and you have a whole lot more numbers playing here so in South Africa we are always playing catch up.”