For The Record: 2000 Olympic Games: gold; 1986 World
Championships: gold; 1983 World Cup: bronze; 1984 World Cup: gold;
1991 World Cup: silver; 1995 World Cup: gold;
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 she 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 and within a year, Debbie
Watson was selected to represent
Australia at the World Cup in
Canada. For the next 11 years, eight as captain, she was a member of
the New South Wales State Team that won 13 National Championships.
After winning virtually every international competition available to
women, 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, Debbie 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. Debbie’s career spanned 17 years, all at the elite level.
She is history’s only women’s water polo player to win Olympic,
World Championship and World Cup gold medals. She has
315 competitions and was named the International Women’s
Player of the Year in 1993.
Today, Debbie is an accomplished motivational speaker, water
polo coach and grammar school teacher of health and physical