South West underwater hockey stars bound for junior world championships

Two Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School students have been selected to represent Australia at the Underwater Hockey Junior World Championships in July. 

Annika Keall from Geographe and Samantha Blackham from Dalyellup said they were excited to be named in the nation squad. 

“There’s a lot of training involved… we train six times a week. If we’re not fit, it’s like we let the team down,” Blackham said.

“It’s been hard to balance studying and exams with training, but it’s definitely paid off,” Keall said.

Blackham has been playing underwater hockey for six years while Keall has been playing competitively for three. 

 Both girls attribute their interest in the sport to their families’ diving background.

“I got into it with Dad. We used to do a lot of free diving and we wanted to improve our breath hold,” Keall said.

The girls will receive their Australia uniforms this weekend when they train with the entire team for the last time before the championships. Part of the training will see the girls undergo a fitness test including an underwater beep test.

The championships will run in Hobart between July 15 and 23 with Australia set to face off against the USA, Canada, Columbia, France, New Zealand and the UK.