Cape Town — The South African women's water polo team was no match for defending champions, the USA , in their final pool match at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea on Thursday.
Having been thrashed 33-0 by the Netherlands in their opener on Sunday, the SA side fared slightly better in going down 17-4 to New Zealand in their second match at the Nambu University Aquatics Centre on Tuesday.
However, the USA showed why they are tournament favourites for the gold medal with a comprehensive 26-1 victory.
The scores in each of the eight-minute quarters read 7-0, 8-1, 6-0 and 5-0.
Having lost their three Group A matches, the SA side finished bottom of the standings and have been eliminated from the medal rounds.
They will now move into the bracket to determine the 13th-16th-placed finishers along with hosts South Korea (in all likelihood), Japan and Cuba.
The SA side will next be in action against South Korea should they lose - as is expected - their final group match to Canada. South Korea have lost both their matches to date - 64-0 to Hungary and 30-1 to Russia.
That match is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24 at a time yet to be confirmed.
At the last world championships in 2017, the SA women's side finished 16th - and last - in the tournament, scoring 20 goals in five matches and conceding 65.
The SA women's team was thrown into turmoil in the weeks leading up to the tournament when coach Seri Harris was inexplicably axed.
Harris, who was coaching voluntarily, only found out about her dismissal when the squad was announced - and her name wasn't read out.