What turned out to be the final round of the OVO Australian Waterpolo League for 2020, round six celebrated the many women who are part of the water polo community.

Among those are mother/daughter duo Amy and Cathy Ridge from UNSW-Wests Killer Whales. Amy has always been supported by her mum, but her teammates also benefit from her mother’s passion for water polo with Cathy the team manager of the UNSW-Wests AWL Women’s side.

Cathy admitted the Ridge family weren’t always a water polo family.

“Amy and her sister were into their swimming and netball but then Andrew (Yanitsas) mentioned to her at school she should try water polo.

“I think it was a great move for Amy as it was a water sport but much more exciting… and she obviously had the height.

“I was always big on having my kids in team sports, because I think it teaches them great skills about working with others and that it’s not always about yourself.

“Once we got into water polo, we found this great community… it’s a tight knit community but one where you can have connections all over the world.

“I started out just volunteering with the Club, then moved into the team manager role for national league and now for me it’s like I have 13 daughters,” she said.

For 24 year old Amy, who is eying off a potential Olympic debut, admitted her mum has been a driving force behind her career.

“Mum always said she’d never be one of those parents taking me to early morning training sessions when I was swimming, but then when I got into water polo, different story. She was up driving me to 4:30am training sessions at NSWIS and to all my weekend and night games… I honestly could not have done it without her.

“I think she saw how much I loved it after switching from swimming, where I was getting bored, and wanted to help,” said Amy.

Amy spent time in the USA at University of Michigan playing for in the college system, when in 2017 she got the call up to make her Aussie Stingers debut against USA.

“As soon as she was announced in the team, her father and I booked our tickets because we knew we had to be there,” said Cathy.

“It was such a proud moment to see her play for Australia. Since then we have travelled to as many games as we could to watch her play.

“I think for us, seeing them (Aussie Stingers) win the bronze medal in South Korea was such a highlight. They really pulled together as a team and I think they knew they had it in them to win the medal and the pride they showed when they were presented with the medal… it was very special, you could see it in their faces,” she said.

With just over 100 days to go until the Tokyo Olympic Games, preparations continue for the squad and for potential debutant Amy, she said the inspiration she has around her to get there isn’t hard to find.

“When I made my debut in 2017, I got a taste for what it was like to wear the green and gold and I think it was at that moment I really started to think about Tokyo.

“We are lucky in our sport we have access to so many great women who’ve done amazing things. Bron Smith (Olympic gold medalist) is part of our (Aussie Stingers) program and she is always available to get advice and tips from… Deb Watson (Olympic gold medalist) is another who is available for chat over the years… having women like that around is really inspiring and so helpful.

“Plus in our squad we have Bronny (Knox) and Rowie (Webster) who’ve been to multiple Olympic Games and are really supportive of us going through this all for our first time,” she said.

While team manager duties for Cathy with UNSW-Wests Killer Whales have wrapped up for the 2020 season, her duties as a mum remain!

For Amy, times are uncertain right now with the possibility of the Olympics being postponed, but she maintains her positive attitude and will continue to work towards her first Olympics - whenever that may be.

This article originally appeared on the Water Polo Australia website.