Australian Stingers stung by US at FINA World League Final gold medal match

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

water polo players
(6) Bronwen Knox during a test match between Great Britain and Australia earlier in the year
Image: Laura Hale.

In the gold medal match at water polo's FINA World League Final tonight between the Australia Stingers and United States women's national water polo team, Australia lost 4–6 to the USA in the last major competition before the 2012 Summer Olympics. The victory made for seven World League Super Final titles for Team USA.

At 7:00 p.m. Chinese local time, 9:00 p.m. Australian local time, the game got under way, with a Tweet from Australian Water Polo for fans at home who could not watch the game live. The Australians were down at quarter time, 1–2 with the team's only goal coming from Bronwen Knox off a pass by Kate Gynther. By half time, Australia had battled back to take the lead 4–3, only to finish the third period tied 4–4 with the United States, and eventually lose 4–6.

In the lead up to the World League Final, the Australians spent time in Singapore before departing for China. While in Singapore, players had an opportunity to relax at the pool and several, including Knox, Rowena Webster, Nicola Zagame, and Melissa Rippon were very active on Twitter.

The team arrived in Shanghai and the Shanghai Institute of Sport a week before the start of the FINA Super League Finals. During their week-long preparation, they worked on strength and fitness training. When away from the pool, they did not have access to Twitter, Facebook, or television and had to entertain themselves using other means. Players finally explored the city six days after their arrival.

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With limited opportunities for amusement in the hotel room during the competition, assistant coach Ryan Moar updated his Twitter account and played with a toy helicopter. Several of the players who were active on Twitter before departing for China stopped updating, including Webster, Rippon, and Zagame. Knox and Moran continued to provide updates on Twitter and Instagram throughout the competition.

Australian game days during the tournament included warming up poolside before the start of their games, and cooling down in the pool after them. Going into their match against the USA, they notched an 8–7 victory over China, an 18 to nil victory against Germany, and a 9–7 overtime shootout win against Russia.

On gold medal game day, Jane Moran updated her Twitter account to say "Final of World League Super Finals today v USA - goooo Stingers! ‪#stingerspride". About eight hours prior to game time, the team finished their final training session. Earlier in the afternoon, prior to game time in Australia, Channel 9 ran a feature on the team. Prior to the start of the game, the Australian Stingers official team Twitter account mocked Team USA for their team-branded k tape. During the pre-game warm up, team members did a variety of things including playing with their phones, warming up, and getting their arms taped. It was business as usual for the team that had beaten the United States the previous month at the VISA Water Polo International.

The bronze medal match between the China women's national water polo team and Greece women's national water polo team preceded the gold medal game, which Greece won 8–7, with quarter scoring of 1–2 in the first, 4–2 in the second, 1–2 in the third, and 1–2 in the fourth. In the other match, the Russia women's national water polo team easily beat the Germany women's national water polo team 18-4.



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