A Comox Valley-raised woman who lives in Australia is representing Canada at the upcoming Underwater Rugby World Championships in Austria.
The underwater version of the sport involves two teams each with six players who try to score goals by sending a saltwater-filled ball into a goal at the bottom of a pool. Tackling an opponent is allowed, as long as they have procession of the ball.
Emma Green decided to try the sport when a water polo friend sent a video of underwater rugby to a group chat. As a joke, the friend suggested trying the sport.
“I sent the link to my dad and he was off to training that same week,” Green, 24, said by email. “I started a year later once I was working full-time as an occupational therapist.”
Within the first eight months of playing with her club, the team had won three gold medals, one of those being a national gold. The latter earned the squad a berth at the Champions Cup in Germany.
Growing up in the Valley, Green was a member of the Blue Devils and Orcas Synchronized swim clubs. She attended Robb Road Elementary, Aspen Park Elementary and Isfeld Secondary. She moved to Melbourne with her father when she was in Grade 10.
“We moved to Australia because my step-mother is Australian. I decided it would be a good adventure.”
Green took up university water polo when she was 15, and stayed with her university club for seven years. She is on a “water polo break” at the moment in the lead-up to the world championships.
Green trains in the pool three times a week with the Victoria Sea Dragons, her club team in Melbourne.
Via Skype and WhatsApp, she keeps in touch with the Canadian underwater rugby coach, who is in contact with her club coaches. She puts in an additional three training sessions a week in the gym.
Most of the Canadian team is comprised of players from Ontario and Québec.
“There is hope of a team in Vancouver starting up by the end of the year as well,” Green said.
The championships run from July 25-Aug. 3 in Graz, Austria. Canada is one of 14 teams competing in the women’s tournament. There are 17 men’s teams competing, including Canada.
Green’s team is always looking for donations, which close July 10: bit.ly/2LCYoeZ