Published Thu 29 Feb 2024

Rio 2016 Olympian and UNSW stalwart Jarrod Gilchrist is an icon of the Australian Waterpolo League, having played his first season back in 2006.

With 2024 marking his tenth year in a row of uninterrupted playing time with the UNSW Magpies, Gilchrist is approaching the huge 300 game milestone with the seven-time champions.

However, even after more than a decade in the AWL, Gilchrist is just as excited for the current season as he has ever been.

“Every year is different and it’s always fun to be the defending champions, having gone back to back for the past two years or three if you don’t count the COVID interruption,” said Gilchrist.

“It obviously poses plenty of challenges in relation to maintaining that level of success, so we’ve been working hard.

“We’ve had a lot of changes to our team from a personnel perspective, in relation to not only athletes but coaching staff. 

“We’ve obviously been really successful under Andrew Yanitsas, but we’re stoked to see him helping out the (Ord Minnett Aussie) Sharks for Paris. With his coaching commitment to the national side being quite large, he obviously saw it as a chance to let some other coaching influences come along.

“It’s been really great to have Pat Brennan - another UNSW old boy from back in 2012 - involved, and to incorporate that new coaching perspective into the fold,” he said.

No stranger to the Fremantle Mariners having won a championship with them himself in 2012 before moving east to play for the Magpies, Gilchrist is excited to see what UNSW can produce against his old club this weekend.

“We’ve got two games at the Bicton Pool against Fremantle this weekend and they’re always tough to play in front of their home crowd,” he stated.

“I personally played for Fremantle for one season, my last season before playing for Wests back in 2012, so I know what it’s like from both perspectives to play in that pool. It’s a beautiful pool, one of the best in the country to play water polo in.

“It’ll be tough but we’re boosted by the reinclusion of Nathan Power and Charlie Negus from their (Ord Minnett Aussie) Sharks duties, they’ll be ready to get started for their AWL season.

“We had a training scrimmage last night with both of them back. We’ve all played together for so long that they just slotted right back in and helped the team step up to another level which was really nice. We’re always happy to have them included in the team list.

“We’ve also had a couple of our existing guys excelling in the pool this year, especially Jean-Luc Poidevin in goals.

“He’s been our second goalie for what seems like forever behind some of the best goalkeepers we’ve ever had, but he’s been able to step up into that number one goalkeeper spot and has been absolutely unbelievable this season, so I think he’ll make it pretty hard for Fremantle to get going on the scoreboard,” Gilchrist said.

Leading goal scorer in the fourth week of the AWL, Gilchrist admits that his motivations for playing have changed slightly over the years, with his young family now at the forefront of his mind.

“My three girls love to come and watch me play. It’s quite funny at the moment because there’s a bit of a friendly rivalry between my brother (Koby Gilchrist) and I, he plays for Cronulla so he’s got them doing the ‘Fins up for Sharkies’ but they tell me they’re only doing that to keep him happy.

“They love cheering for the Magpies, they always tell me how many goals they want me to score and that they want us to win, so that’s pretty good motivation for me right there.

“I love water polo and love playing, it’s not something I can see myself giving up anytime soon, but I’m also trying to balance the commitment as best as I can with my family and what they need from me. 

“At the moment I’m just enjoying it as much as possible and trying to give back to the club and the team whenever I can,” he finished.

To view a list of fixtures for this weekend and catch up on the results so far this season, click HERE.

Two games will be broadcast LIVE this Sunday March 3 from Bicton Pool in Perth: 

10am (AWST) - Fremantle Marlins v UNSW Wests Killerwhales
11:30am (AWST) - Fremantle Mariners v UNSW Wests Magpies

To watch the live stream, click HERE.