CEO Corner: Farewell to three greats

Water Polo Australia CEO Chris Harrison

CEO Corner: Farewell to three greats


CEO Corner: Remembering the greats before competition gets back underway

I think I speak for all of us when I say I have been saddened in recent times by the passing of water polo Olympians Doug Laing and Bill Orchard. Both contributed much to our sport and will be fondly remembered.

It was also with great sadness and shock that we heard of the passing of Jackie Fairweather (nee Gallagher).

As many in our community would know, Jackie conducted a thorough and professional review of our National Water Polo League three years ago, of which many of the recommendations were enacted.

Jackie's illustrious sporting history included the following:

  • In July 1992, she ran 1:14.38 in a half-marathon, then in December she won her first triathlon race in Canberra and four days later she won the Zatopek 10,000m track race in a sensational 33:14.16.
  • During 1992 she had competed in a staggering 42 races.
  • In early 1993 she made her first national team representing Australia at
  • The 1993 World Cross Country Championships in Spain. Over the next eight years Jackie complied a superb triathlon career record, which included representing Australia at eight World Triathlon Championships (winning one gold and three silvers).
  • In 1996 she become the only person to win the World Triathlon and Duathlon titles in the one year.
  • She won two World duathlon titles (1996 & 1999), four National triathlon titles (2 Olympic distance, 2 sprint), three national duathlon titles and four Australian Triathlete of the year awards.
  • In 2002 she won bronze in the marathon at the Manchester Commonwealth Games

Vale Jackie and Water Polo Australia’s thoughts are with her family and friends.

Following on from our recent national High Performance review, there were some positive outcomes that include how the domestic competition structure may look.

It is now our plan to consult with the stakeholders with various models that will underpin and enhance our future high performance needs and results, whist still providing a pathway from a growing participation base

Still with our High Performance Unit and Water polo Australia is currently advertising for a pathways manager.

The National Pathway Manager key objectives include:

  • To develop, implement and continually review and refine the WPA National Athlete Pathway Framework
  • Enhance the capability of states to deliver sub-elite talent identification, development and participation programs as well as coach education and development via a national framework more on the job can be obtained here 


On the 25th of October, WPAL held an Extraordinary General meeting and the new constitution was passed unanimously. This ensured our alignment with the Australian Sports Commission’s “Winning Edge” governance requirements.

I personally would like to thank the states and territories and all who were involved in the stakeholder engagement to achieve this result.

On the commercial front, The Australian Sports Commission, who we are partnering in a joint venture to determine the commercialisation of our sport, will shortly be sending out our requirements to the shortlisted companies. The end result of this study should assist us in both valuing our assets and help when making submissions to potential sponsors.

In the pool November marks the beginning of some top level competition with the NTC tournaments beginning and the inaugural National Masters Championships. I wish the best of luck to all involved.

Until next time, I hope you score some goals,

Chris Harrison


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