Australia has produced one of the greatest female water polo players to ever play the game. If not for injuries incurred while playing her beloved netball, the world may have never known what a talent Debbie Watson was in the pool.
In 1983, after doctors advised her to give up land sports, she joined her school’s water polo team. She immediately fell in love with the game. Within a year, Watson was selected to represent Australia at the World Cup in Canada. For the next 11 years, including eight as team captain, she was a member of the New South Wales State Team that won a total of 13 National Championships.
After winning virtually every international competition available to women at the time, including World Championships and World Cups, she retired in 1995. But when the IOC added women’s water polo to the Olympic program in 2000, Watson jumped back into the pool. The Olympic Games was the only competition in which Debbie never had the chance to compete. She not only gained her spot back on the national team, she was instrumental in helping Australia win the first-ever women’s water polo gold medal in front of a hometown Sydney crowd.
Watson's illustrious career spanned 17 years, all at the elite level. She is the only women’s water polo player in history to win Olympic, World Championship and World Cup gold medals. She played in 315 competitions and was named the International Women’s Player of the Year in 1993.
Today, Watson is an accomplished motivational speaker, water polo coach and grammar school teacher for health and physical education.