UNSW Wests Magpies co-captain and three time Olympian Richard Campbell has done almost all there is to do in the sport of water polo but is still motivated to achieve more and help the next generation.
Richie has been to three Olympic Games, played in European Leagues and won Australian Waterpolo League Championships.
So what’s the secret? Well he has two words simple words for aspiring players coming through the ranks.
“Swim more! I think the biggest benefit that I had was I was a swimmer beforehand, doing that swim work helps you one hundred times more than the next guy who doesn’t do it,” said Campbell.
After the Aussie Sharks didn’t have the Rio campaign they set out for, Campbell took almost half a year break from the game.
“After Rio I took about five months off to travel, attend an overseas wedding in Hawaii and focus on my career working full time at St Catherine’s School Waverly,” he said.
Campbell is currently the head of High Performance and manages the school’s water polo and swimming programs.
“I love my job it’s awesome. There are so many school girls across Sydney that play the sport, when I turn up on a Saturday to coach my game there are hundreds of girls and lots of games going on, it’s fantastic to see,” he said.
Since starting water polo at the age of 10, Richie is now 30 years old and has amassed two decades of water polo experiences.
One of the best things for Campbell about playing water polo are the friendships he’s developed and the people he has met along the way which have helped him stay motivated through the years.
“The people I played with in the beginning are the people I am still playing with now, it has been a long time playing with the same people,” he said.
One such example of this extraordinary fact is his Magpies co-captain and Aussie Sharks teammate Joel Dennerley, they first started playing together at the age of 15.
“We know each other’s games like the back of our hands, I am still playing the sport with him after all these years, it is good fun.
“I play for the love of the game. I love the sport
“I love the group I train and play with week in, week out,” he said.
Over his two-decade career, the biggest change Campbell has seen in the game is the growth of numbers playing.
“I can remember when I first started, we would play 14&U but also play 16&U and 18&U because there weren’t enough numbers in the sport to play.
“It’s good to see the participation numbers up there,” he said.
Campbell has seen a lot during his time, so how does he find motivation to keep training, playing and recovering? The answer lies in Tokyo.
“Anything can happen in two and a half years, but I think we have the right team to put us on the podium in 2020.
“There is motivation for the Olympics, being in Tokyo is especially appealing but it is also the group and the environment we have.
“Medals are the goal, because you don’t go there to finish tenth.
“I have committed to the Aussie Sharks this year and I want to play through to Tokyo, I just have to see how the body holds up and where my career takes me.
“I am locked in to tour with the Aussie Sharks this year and I am looking forward to the Sunshine Coast camp and USA test match series in March.
“The body at 30 is a lot different to the body at 21, I have to do a lot more maintenance work.
My mind is still good, it actually works better than back at 21, it’s just the experience but I am still very focused to play the sport.”
Richie is next in action when he plays for UNSW Wests Magpies against the Brisbane Barracudas in Brisbane today, Thursday March 1, 9:00PM AEST.