ACT water polo coach Matthew Turnbull says the territory's rejuvenated junior program is starting to bear fruit, the ACT boasting two bronze medals and two national representatives after last week's Australian schools championships in Canberra.
Tim Reeves and Georgia Rossettin were selected in their respective Australian schools teams at the conclusion of the tournament, but it's the increased depth of ACT junior talent that excites Turnbull.
The ACT boys and the girls both finished third - the ACT's first medals in seven years since the ACT boys won gold in 2005. But that was during a period when the ACT had the luxury of calling on athletes from the AIS water polo program.
Turnbull described last week's two bronze medals - the girls beat Victoria 8-6 and the boys beat Western Australia 9-7 - as the ACT's best result for home-grown talent.
''As a whole, that's the best that the ACT has ever done at any junior championship, with both teams medalling,'' Turnbull said.
''We've just beaten two states that have a lot of funding to their sport, national league teams and programs and multiple clubs.''
The Canberra Water Polo Academy was established four years ago to identify emerging talent and provide year-round training. It started with four players but has now grown to include about 100.
Reeves, 15, hopes his selection for the Australian schoolboys trip to New Zealand at the end of the year is just the first country water polo takes him to.
''[I want to go the US] just to improve and it would be a good experience. My coach Matt Turnbull went there and he said it was good. There are American players that have come over to play for our club and just them talking about it, it seems like a good place to go,'' Reeves said.
While Reeves was banging in goals for the ACT, Rossettin, 16, was stopping them.
The Daramalan College Year 11 student not only plays ACT A-grade for the Dragons, but also pulls on the cap for Sydney Uni in the under 18s as well as divisions two and three in the seniors.
''Training camps, they'll be really good because I can get some great one-on-one coaching from goalies. And I'm just really excited to get to represent my country,'' she said.