The 2017-18 water polo season will go down as one of the most successful in the history of the school.
The team won the Gauteng league, made the quarterfinals of the Saints and SACS tournaments and narrowly missed out on a quarterfinal place at the recent King Edward tournament.
And at the heart of all that success was the team’s inspirational captain, Cameron Van der Walt, who literally and figuratively led from the front – as the centre forward and the driving force behind the team’s fierce will to win.
He was only doing his job, he says, but in the process he managed to mold the team into a tight unit that played for each other and always fought to the very end – they came back from a losing position to snatch victory on a number of occasions
Cameron is quick to give the credit to his team mates, and to the coach, Mr Dave Hansen. “I can honestly say that I achieved what I did because of Mr Hansen,” he said. “He pushed us to always do better and to always keep our heads in the game. He is a great motivator.”
And he believes he was leading a team of fine individual players. “We have four players in the side who have received national colours, and many other who played provincial water polo. It wasn’t difficult to be the captain of a group like that.”
In the process, he omits his own personal contribution as a player. He made the Gauteng under-19A team last year, after playing provincial schools polo through all the age groups. And he was included in the team of the Tournament at the King Edward Tournament a fortnight ago – a side chosen from all the best players in the country.
The season is over now and Cameron will be playing rugby for one of Jeppe’s lower open teams. “It’s my final year, so I have to,” he said.
Then he has one more polo commitment– the SACS tournament in October, after which he’ll be leaving a hole that will be difficult to fill. “I think this team is headed for big things. There were only two matrics in the first seven this year so they are the team of the future,” he said.
“They say successful teams do well because the players like each other and what they are doing. I can say that we loved each other, and loved playing for Jeppe this year. I know that’s going to continue.”
Fine closing words from an impressive young leader.