Issy heads to Europe
ISSY MALCOLM loves her new tracksuit.
It's green, it's gold, and it means that these school holidays, when she might have been knocking around with friends from Alstonville and Ballina, Malcolm will be in Europe towelling up Greeks, Serbs and Italians.
Earlier this month, Malcolm was selected in the Australian Under-17 girls water polo squad.
Next Tuesday, the 16-year-old will board a plane and take off on the journey of a lifetime.
It's three weeks in Greece and the Netherlands taking on the best the rest of the world has to offer with games against Hungary, Canada and France.
She will even swim the pool at the home of the Olympics in Athens.
“It's all very exciting ... and very scary,” Malcolm said.
“Playing against teams from countries like Hungary and Serbia just sounds scary – I don't know anything about them.”
Malcolm's team of 15 girls, coached by Ryan Moar, will play in two tournaments next month.
After arriving in Greece on June 30 the side will begin its quest for the Pythia Cup on July 2.
The girls have four games and a closing ceremony in three days before heading to the Netherlands where the pace slows a little for a three-day training camp before the Butterfly Trophy begins.
Malcolm is used to a slower pace, having grown up at Fernleigh, but when it comes to sport she is first out of the blocks.
Now living in Brisbane, the youngster recalled how she was dragged into water polo about four years ago.
“Water polo and triathlon were always both on Friday nights,” Malcolm said.
“I always did triathlon but one of my friends talked me into changing.
“I told her I would play water polo for one year.
“Apparently I was good at it and they talked me into staying.”
At the beginning of this year, the Year 11 student made one of the biggest decisions of her short life.
Malcolm was travelling to Brisbane three times a week to train with the Emerging Athletes Program.
She bit the bullet, up-rooted and enrolled at Brisbane State High School.
And it paid dividends.
Malcolm trains regulalry with Olympians Mel Rippon and Kate Gynther in the Brisbane Barracudas system.
She spends more time under the microscope of top coach Scott Schweickle and even her school work has improved.
“It was a big deal to move away from my family and all my friends that I have grown up with,” she said.
Things just seem to be going Malcolm's way – well, most things.
Since debuting in the sport she has worn the No2 on her cap.
“It's like a tradition,” she said.
But another girl has claimed the No2 for the Europe tour, meaning our girl will wear the unfamiliar No5.
She ain't that happy about it – but on the bright side, she still has her green and gold tracksuit.