UCT's Water Polo Club made the biggest splash at the university's annual Sports Awards dinner in October, claiming just about every big prize on offer.
The first award of the evening, the Chairman's Award, was presented to the multi-talented Jessica Pollock by Associate Professor Tess Minter, chair of UCT Sports Council. The award acknowledges a student that "embodies the spirit of UCT sport" and recognised Pollock's exceptional sporting prowess, which spans athletics, canoeing, golf, hockey, surfing, tennis and water polo. Aside from her sporting participation in these clubs, Pollock also assists with their administration. She was also recently elected to serve on the 2015 Students' Representative Council.
Next to be lauded was Zsolt Desi, the long-serving coach of UCT's water polo team. Desi was named UCT Sports Coach of the Year and had to fend off sterling competition from fellow nominees Brendan Gliddon, coach of UCT's rowing team, and Kevin Musikanth, who coached the Ikey Tigers to this year's Varsity Cup trophy.
The water polo club was then honoured with the UCT Sports Club of the Year Award, with caps doffed at their good governance structure, active social responsiveness portfolio, stable financial management and, of course, their remarkable performance in the pool. Notable achievements this year included the women's team winning both the summer and winter leagues and the Old Edwardian Tournament, while the men's team won the winter league and were runners-up in the Old Edwardian Tournament.
Hockey was the next club to scoop a prize; they claimed the Transformation Trophy for the development programme they've established with players in Khayelitsha. The Khayelitsha players regularly visit UCT, with the club offering workshops, kit drives and similar support. This support has already seen results; the under-18 development team were recent winners at the Western Province development awards.
It was back to water polo for the Turpin Cup, which is awarded to a student who is deemed to have served UCT sport with aplomb. Nicholas Walker, captain of the university's water polo team, walked away with the cup.
Julian Lewis, an 18-year old water polo player, picked up the trophy for Best First-Year athlete; after not only winning a spot on UCT's first team but also being selected for the South African national team for a tournament in Hungary.
While Musikanth was a runner-up in the Coach of the Year category, his winning team picked up the Landstem Trophy for performance of the year after their spine-tingling late rally to snatch the Varsity Cup from the jaws of NWU-Pukke.
The rowing club is rarely far from the action, and scooped the Butterworth Trophy for Team of the Year after winning the University Sports South Africa tournament for the first time in 100 years. Finally, it was time for the big one: the famed Jamison Cup, awarded to UCT's most outstanding athlete. And it went to someone that many see as the best water polo player in the country, Devon Card, a final-year student who is a regular in the senior national side as a member of the Western Province Currie Cup squad. In previous years, Card was offered a transfer to the prestigious Club Nataci? Barcelona water polo team, but UCT is thankful that he remained here.
Compiled by Yusuf Omar. Image by Katherine Traut.
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