Committee Update from the Acting Executive Director

The 2011 AGM saw the conclusion of Jane Gilligan’s two-year term as Executive Director. Unfortunately for the organistion she decided not to re-nominate. Jane brought a calm, no nonsense enthusiasm to the role that reinvigorated the organisation and its committee. Jane’s term also delivered great success for our representative teams. Gold and silver for the Men and Women at the recent CMAS world championships in Portugal and a fourth placing for the U19 boys in the Age Group tournament in Holland unequivocally demonstrated that Australia remains a force in international Underwater Hockey. Jane’s work over the past two years will hold Australian Underwater Hockey in good stead for the coming years. On the upside, Jane is not leaving the UWHA committee completely, she has assumed the role of Records Officer. Unfortunately, no nominations were received for the Executive Director position so the position remains vacant and applications are welcome.After numerous terms in the Chief Referee role, Simon Talbot also steps aside. Thanks to the countless hours he has put in over the past ten plus years the quality of refereeing in Australia and internationally has improved out of sight. Simon has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the rules of the game, has trained hundreds of referees and overseen numerous national and international tournaments as Chief Referee. Simon’s contribution has directly and significantly contributed to improvement of the international game, a massively amazing achievement. Lena Plambeck steps into the revised role as Director of Refereeing.After a number of years, Joe Tindal is also stepping down from the Records Officer position. Thanks to Joe’s diligent work Australia has a far improved record of the history of Underwater Hockey in Australia and our participation at an international level.The other committee positions up for election at the AGM included the Director of Coaching role and the newly established Secretary role. I was re-elected into the former and UHA welcomes Eden Brown as our new Secretary.Craig Proctor has also stood down from the Communications Officer role. During his time on the UHA Committee, Craig has been instrumental of establishing an extensive online presence for the organisation. His humour and level-headedness will be sorely missed. Jodie Miners steps into the role to build on the foundations laid by Craig.

On the Australian team front there was also some substantial changes. Most notably, Tommy Solopotias did not seek re-appointment as Australian Women’s team coach. In his ten plus years in the role Tommy has overseen one of the most dominant eras in the sport. His dedication and innovative approach delivered World Championships in 2000, ‘02, ’06 and ’08 and silver in 2011. During his time as coach Tommy has played a major role in the development of a generation of women underwater hockey players. His coaching record is the envy of all and testimony to the enormous contribution he has made to underwater hockey in Australia. As no nominations were received the Australian Women’s team position applications are welcome.
In the other coaching positions, Arnold Piccoli was reappointed as Men’s team coach and will be pursuing back-to-back World Championships in 2013. Nick Martyn and Kirsteen Reid were also re-appointed in the U19 divisions. As our international results indicate all of our coaching staff in 2011 (Tommy, Arnie, Nick and Jason Miezis) did an amazing job and represented Australia with aplomb.

In the team management roles, following her fantastic work at the Age Group Championships in Holland Sandra Milner was reappointed into the junior management role while Kirsteen Reid was appointed to the Elite team management role.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and fantastic organizational skills of our Australian team managers over the past years. Sandra has done an amazing job on a number of trips with the junior teams. While for the Elite divisions Lucero Perdomo Cruz has also done a fantastic job over the past couple of years. She made an enormous contribution to our recent success at the CMAS World Championships in Portugal. Her work is much appreciated by the UHA committee and the players who traveled.

On behalf of the UHA and as a player involved on the trip I would also like to express gratitude to the Australian team Physio, Nick Stepkovitch, who accompanied us on our trip to Portugal. Nick did a power of work on the trip and his knowledge and magic hands played a vital role in the success of both teams.

Next year will be an exciting and challenging year for the UHA: we have two sub committee and coaching vacancies that need filling but the National Championships in Perth are bound to be fantastic.

In terms of our international commitments over the next couple of years: indications are that Worlds will be held in South Africa for all divisions in 2013. This is a major shift from what had been previously stated and as such we are in discussions with our international partners about or plans for 2012. Hopefully there will be more news on that front shortly.

See you in the water.

Rees Quilford
UHA Acting Executive Director & Director of Coaching