< back
Hannah BUCKLING
Sport Water Polo
NOC Australia   
GenderWomen
Born03 Jun 1992 in Sydney, AUS
Height1.77 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Family
Partner Thomas
Residence
Sydney, NSW, AUS
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English
Higher education
Medicine - University of Sydney: Australia
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began playing water polo at age 12 in Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Why this sport?
"I thought I'd give it a try in year seven [at school]. It was something different and I really enjoyed it. I was good at swimming, and not a bad netballer, so the sport gave me a challenge as far as teamwork and aerobic fitness was concerned."
Club / Team
Sydney University Lions: Australia
Name of coach
Scott Nicholson [club]; Scott Henderson [club]; Paul Oberman [national]
Preferred position / style / stance / technique
Centre back
Handedness
Right
International Debut
Year
2011
Competing for
Australia
Location
Canada
General Interest
Nicknames
HB, H (creamofthecrop.com.au, 01 Feb 2021; thewomensgame.com, 09 Aug 2018)
Most influential person in career
Her parents. (exclusiveinsight.com, 18 Oct 2019)
Injuries
She was struck in the face and sustained a fractured eye socket while competing against Brazil at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (smh.com.au, 16 Jul 2021, 16 Aug 2016; dailymail.co.uk, 13 Aug 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you set your mind to doing something you're passionate about, incredible things happen. But it is only through giving it a try, and having resilience when it doesn't work out the first, second or even third time, that you can see what you're truly capable of." (thewomensgame.com, 09 Aug 2018)
Awards and honours
In 2013 and 2020 she was named Sportswoman of the Year at the Sydney University Sport and Fitness [SUSF] Sports Awards in Australia. (Sydney University Water Polo Facebook page, 29 Apr 2021; standrewscollege.edu.au, 28 Apr 2014)

She was selected for the 2016/17 Australian National Water Polo League All-Star Team. (susf.com.au, 29 Mar 2017)

She was presented with the Nigel C Barker Medal at the University of Sydney's 2015 Alumni Awards. The honour goes to a student with a high academic standard, who has also contributed to the university through sporting achievement. (standrewscollege.edu.au, 19 Oct 2015)

In 2013 she was named Most Valuable Player [MVP] of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation [MPSF] in the United States of America. She was also named in the National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA] All-Tournament second team. (usctrojans.com, 30 Apr 2013, 25 Feb 2013)

She was named the 2012 Australian Junior Female Player of the Year. (usctrojans.com, 25 Feb 2013)
Famous relatives
Her grandfather played schoolboy rugby for Wales. (waterpoloaustralia.com, 01 Jul 2013)
Other information
FUTURE PLANS
She hopes to pursue a career as a doctor while continuing to play water polo at club level. "After the [2020] Olympics, I will return to full-time study and put my efforts into graduating from medicine and beginning my career as a doctor. While I don't think [the 2024 Olympic Games in] Paris is on the cards for me, I will continue to play for Sydney University in the Australian Water Polo League. I love playing with my club team, so this provides a great way to stay connected to the sport with a slightly lesser time commitment." (susf.com.au, 10 May 2021)

RIO INJURY
She began working with psychologists after sustaining a fractured eye socket while competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "After the game, I was sitting in the doping control area with the sports doctor as part of the drug testing protocols. I just said, 'Look at this thing that's happening with my eye', and when I blew my nose, my eye would bubble. At the time I had no idea. But he knew straight away and we went to the hospital. From there it was just a bit of a blur, I was just in shock. Once the shock wore off I was definitely angry for a while. But as athletes, we are so connected with psychology and mental health and so it was a matter of connecting with psychologists through the AIS [Australian Institute of Sport] and making it a productive use of emotions rather than a destructive one. While it was completely devastating at the time, I'm quite grateful for it in a way as it kept me playing in a way I wanted to. An older athlete, a more mature athlete. (smh.com.au, 16 Jul 2021)

MASTERING THE EGGBEATER
One of her strengths in water polo is her ability to carry out 'the eggbeater', a form of treading water using the legs only. "I was a fairly good breaststroker, and I have powerful legs, which helped with learning the eggbeater. I am average height, but have long, monkey arms which give me a good reach to get to the ball. While I found the eggbeater difficult to master at first, it gradually became a strong aspect of my play." (susf.com.au, 12 Feb 2016)

FURTHER EDUCATION
In 2016 she began studying for a medicine degree at the University of Sydney, having completed her undergraduate degree in immunology. After a break from her studies in 2019 she re-enrolled in her degree in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were postponed. "I think I may have the record for the longest medical degree, but I am moving slowly and steadily towards graduation. The goal is to complete my third year of study when I return from [the 2020 Olympic Games in] Tokyo, being back at university the day I am released from hotel quarantine. Then, if all goes to plan, I will graduate at the end of next year, 2022." (LinkedIn profile, 01 Dec 2021; theroar.com.au, 24 May 2021; susf.com.au, 10 May 2021; Water Polo Australia Facebook page, 11 Mar 2021; waterpoloaustralia.com.au, 02 Jun 2020; afr.com, 10 Jul 2019; dailytelegraph.com.au, 01 Sep 2016)

PLAYING ABROAD
She spent a season in the United States of America playing water polo for the University of Southern California Trojans. She has also played water polo in Greece for Olympiacos. "Playing at USC was one of the most incredible experiences. Winning an NCAA Championship was, at the time, unlike anything I had ever experienced." (exclusiveinsight.com, 18 Oct 2019; thewomensgame.com, 09 Aug 2018)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
5 2021 Tokyo, JPN Team  
6 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA Team  
World Championship
Rank Year Venue Event Result
3 2019 Gwangju, KOR Team  
8 2017 Budapest, HUN Team  
4 2015 Kazan, RUS Team  
2 2013 Barcelona, ESP Team  
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
3 2018 Surgut, RUS Team  
2 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk, RUS Team