Two young women from Zug proudly represented Switzerland at the European Water Polo Championships in Israel. Margalo Gross and Amy Nussbaumer were able to gain a lot of experience at the U19 European Championships.
"The 12th place achieved by Switzerland at the European Water Polo Championships in Israel is a respectable success. The competition was fierce, and we were the younger athletes. That's why I rate our performance as very positive," proudly adds 16-year-old Margalo Gross, who is from the City of Zug. Together with Amy Nussbaumer (15, from Oberägeri), she recently took part in the U19 European Championship in Israel with the Swiss national team.
In the championship, the two play for the Swimming Club Zug in the National League D, the only women's league in Switzerland, as well as in the U20 team. The teams consist of a syndicate of the two clubs SC Zug and Frosch Aegeri.
Water is the element of Margalo Gross (left) and Amy Nussbaumer. Photo: Maria Schmid, Zug
"It's a completely different world"
The European Championships were a great experience for the two young women. "It was a highlight, the biggest thing we have experienced so far. The competitions on the international stage were very instructive for us. The Hungarians were physically strong, the Greek women very fast. We learned a lot, lost by a lot of points, but were also able to benefit from this," says Amy Nussbaumer in a convinced tone. She has been a member of the junior squad of Swiss Aquatics Water Polo for two years.
Margalo Gross, who has been wearing the Swiss costume for four years, knows the reasons why they suffered significant defeats:
"The best six nations of this European Championship were teams with professional players. This is a completely different world than we experience, or are used to in Switzerland. We go to school, do our training in the evening. In Switzerland, we are still struggling to achieve prestige and more financial resources. Water polo is a marginal sport, nothing more."
The Swiss women also exchanged ideas with other nations at the European Championships. Gross describes: "We talked to the Greek women. They told us that they can make a living from this sport until they are 25 years old. They told us about their everyday lives. It's really all about water polo."
She explains: "That was interesting, but also a bit sobering for us, because we also put in a lot of effort, with up to six training sessions a week in various pools such as the Loreto Zug or Ägeribad, but we are hardly noticed by the public. "Everyone can get an idea of this sport on August 13. The swimming festival (Schwimmfest) of the SC Zug will then takes place below the Rössliwiese.
Sport as a school of life
Amy Nussbaumer tells us about water polo: "When I get into the pool, I just feel happy. I can forget all my worries in the water." And Margalo Gross is also passionate about this sport: "Water polo is my passion. It enriches my everyday life: there, I can switch off. It’s also a school of life. Water polo shaped me. I learned discipline and have learned how to harmonise in a team with different personalities."
Returning to the European Championships: The duels with the top nations were important, as Margalo Gross describes:
"This competition not only brings us forward in the national team, but also at club level. When we play against the best teams in the world, we also develop and benefit a lot."
Is there a wish for the future? "To play for Switzerland's elite national team one day is certainly a dream," reveals Amy Nussbaumer, who, like Margalo Gross, attends the Cantonal School. "Participating in the European Championships was a crowning achievement for me. The fact that I can now go to the U16 World Cup in Greece makes me even more happy., I'm actually very happy at the moment," says Margalo Gross.
Amy Nussbaumer has been selected for the above-mentioned World Cup from 21 to 27 August in Greece, as has Margalo Gross. Amelie Hettinger and Adina Arnold from SC Zug also have good chances of being selected for the World Cup.