Student selected for national Canoe Polo team

Posted: March 18, 2022Category: Uncategorized

Student selected for national Canoe Polo team

A love for Canoe Polo, developed at St. John’s College, has seen 17-year-old Cameron Stevens selected for the New Zealand Canoe Polo U18 B team.

Although the Year 13 student says he was surprised to make the team, because of the calibre of the other participants, he admits he trained “pretty hard”.

“This has been something I have wanted to do since I started at High School. And so, to get to actually play for my country means a lot.”

Cameron’s hard work and steadfast commitment to his discipline has paid dividends as he recalls how rigorous and protracted the competition was.

“The trials took place over a few months last year and focused on fitness, gameplay, skills and training.”

While it is the first time Cameron has made a national team, he has represented the region in the sport and was most recently named in the Hawke’s Bay Men’s A grade team.

Cameron first found the sport while at Tamatea Intermediate School, but says it wasn’t until he reached high school that he began to take canoe polo seriously and realised his potential.

“When I was in Year 10, I made the Hawke’s Bay B grade team, which was a grade down from the top men’s grade team.

“I was quite impressed with that, and I started to realise that ‘I'm actually pretty good at this and this is something that I really want to do', so I may as well push myself.”

Cameron acknowledges the support he has received from St. John’s College Head of Physical Education, and canoe polo coach, Jason Pearson.

“The reason I am where I am is because of our coach, Mr Pearson. He put so much work and effort into training us as juniors, and our senior teams have got a lot of respect for being pretty good because of that.”

His proud parents are, however, his strongest supporters.

“I'd like to say thanks to my mum and dad. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have made any of those teams. The amount of money they've poured into me, and my canoe polo is pretty crazy.”

The physicality and level of intensity is what he enjoys most about canoe polo.

“It's very rewarding because it's a sport with a lot of physical contact, and skill which is something that I like quite a lot.”

While international competitions have had to be cancelled, due to COVID-19, Cameron says there are still opportunities to compete at a regional level.

“Usually, we'd be playing against Australia, but because of COVID-19 we just can't do it. So, throughout summer we still have a lot of competitions going on in New Zealand with the men's regional teams.”

Cameron, who plans on pursuing his canoe polo dreams at university, has set his sights on one day competing at the World Championships.
“I guess everyone wants to play for your country.”

Mr Pearson says Cameron has seen what it takes to play for a national team from previous players in the programme and has bought into challenging himself and working hard to develop.

“He deserves every success and has been a great role model for our younger players. Cameron has experienced a lot of coaches who have put time and energy into him, and I know he is very grateful.”

St. John’s College principal Robert Ferreira congratulated Cameron on an “outstanding achievement”.

Photo Caption: St. John’s College Year 13 student Cameron Stevens has been selected for the New Zealand Canoe Polo U18 B team. Photo/Colm Stevens.