Hi all,

Quick update to share the upcoming women’s fixtures and groups for the 2014 European Champions.

16.07. 12:00 Great Britain W Greece W
16.07. 13:30 Italy W France W
16.07. 15:00 Russia W Spain W
16.07. 16:30 Netherlands W Hungary W
18.07. 14:00 France W Spain W
18.07. 13:30 Great Britain W Netherlands W
18.07. 14:00 Hungary W Greece W
18.07. 14:00 Russia W Italy W
20.07. 16:30 Great Britain W Hungary W
20.07. 14:00 Italy W Spain W
20.07. 14:00 Netherlands W Greece W
20.07. 14:00 Russia W France W

Groups

A

Netherlands W
Greece W
Hungary W
Great Britain W

B

Russia W
Italy W
Spain W
France W

European games are being shown via this link:

http://www.len.eu/LEN/multimedia/webcast.aspx

Welcome back to our inter-season coverage of all things UK Water Polo. Here are the big news stories you may have missed in June: FINA has announced far-reaching regulatory changes that will change how Water Polo is played; Team GB Women’s team are deep into their six week’s of training for the European Championships and the British Water Polo League have opened player registration and finalised their list of venues for the coming season.

FINA regulation overhaul will change the face of international Water Polo

At a special meeting in Dubai on 20 June, FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu proposed sweeping changes to the way Water Polo is played. The following changes are now close to being officially adopted:

  • Rosters will be cut from 13 to 11 players, with teams cut from 7 to 6
  • The women’s Olympic competition will be boosted from 8 to 12 teams (same as men’s)
  • Playing area will be cut from 30 down to 25-metres
  • The men’s water polo ball will be reduced in size

The rule changes are allegedly designed to make the sport more attractive and spectacular. Specifically, the playing area and ball size alterations will bring defense and attacking play closer, while boosting shooting speed, player grip and the number of goals per quarter. Arguably, from a UK perspective, the inflated number of teams in the women’s Olympic competition (and smaller team size) offer a feint glimmer of hope of a funding rethink.

As part of the announcement weekend, FINA ran a small tournament with the new rules played out by World League Super Final teams. Waterpololive.gr reports that most notably, 8 minute quarters took around 20 minutes to play out and the smaller ball was prone to sinking, though it did raise shot-speed.

The proposed changes are yet to be ratified by the European Water Polo confederation, LEN.

Women’s European Championships latest: training, roster and awareness drive

Now deep into a six week period of dedicated training at the Manchester Aquatic Centre, Great Britain’s women’s water polo team are said to be in top form, according to coach Kostas Vamvakaris. As reported by Teamgb.com, Vamvakaris said “Training is going well [...] The win against Spain in April was a huge confidence boost for the players.” Tournament preparation has largely focussed on tactics.

The team are drawn against Greece, the Netherlands and Hungary – the former and latter being silver and bronze medallists at the Euros two years ago. Meanwhile, Swimming.org announced the official roster on June 29:

  • Rosie Morris (captain) (Olympic Nice Natation, FRA)
  • Angie Winstanley-Smith (Lille UC Natation, FRA)
  • Chloe Wilcox (CN Mataro, ESP)
  • Claire Nixon (University of Hawaii, USA)
  • Pippa Temple (Princeton University, USA)
  • Francesca Clayton (ZG Eger, HUN)
  • Peggy Etiebet (Szentes, HUN)
  • Hazel Musgrove (Ethnikos, GRE)
  • Katie Hesketh (City of Liverpool)
  • Rosie Huck (City of Manchester)
  • Aine Hoy (Olympic Nice Natation, FRA)
  • Jade Smith (CN Mataro, ESP)
  • Ciara Gibson-Byrne (CN Mataro, ESP)

In other news, the Save Women’s Water Polo Facebook page is after 5,000 page likes in a bid to raise awareness about the team’s funding situation. Please show you support here.

BWPL: Player registration deadline and second phase venues

Finally, some short news from the British Water Polo League. Firstly, the league’s online registration system is back online. Clubs have until 31 July to register players, after which registrations are charged at £5 per player – clubs should have been emailed instructions in recent weeks.

The BPWL has also solidified its second phase calendar. The games, played from the second week in November up until late January will be played at:

  • Lancaster Salt Ayre
  • Luton
  • Gloucester
  • Sunderland
  • Liverpool
  • Guildford
  • Basingstoke
  • Matlock
  • Watford
  • Marlborough
  • Leeds Uni
  • Lancaster Uni

Full details of who is player where, when, can be now be found on the BWPL’s venues pages.

To keep up with the news as it happens, keep an eye our Twitter and Facebook pages. If you have feedback and story tips please contact us or comment below!

With apologies for the lack of coverage in the last month, here’s a quick summary of some of the events you may have missed in May: Results from the UPolo League Finals, an in-depth article profiling the British women’s team on the eve of their match with Spain, and a slightly less in-depth word that their training for Europe has begun.

UPolo Results – Loughbourough Men and Women’s Champions

Held back on Saturday 10th May, the UPolo League Finals at Cardiff International Swimming Pool saw Loughbourough University winning both the men and women’s events. The men’s cup final was contested by Loughborough and Durham, the women’s was between Loughborough and Sheffield Hallam.

UPolo have put together a couple of great videos from the event – one overview of the day and another, “up close and personal“.

Team GB Women Begin European Championships training

In a quick post up at their Facebook page this Sunday evening, the ladies send word that they’re starting six weeks of training in Manchester – then it’s onto Budapest.

Fantastic write-up about Team GB’s success against Spain

Ollie Williams’ 24 hours – Cuts, threats and tears is an essential bit of reading on the state of British Water Polo from the beginning of the month.

“It sounds quite bad,” Wilcox admits now, “but I’d have been happy with five. That’s not bad against a world-class team – if you lose by four or five, that’s only losing each quarter by one goal. In water polo terms, to be within five goals is still a relatively close game.”

Morris said a three-goal defeat would be more like it. Her mother was horrified at this negative talk, but the two players insisted they were only being realistic. This, after all, was Spain – a team whose players could almost be called celebrities in their home country. They even acted like A-listers.

“With teams like Spain, they’re the world champions and Olympic silver medallists but none of them are friends,” says Morris. “They are players who happen to be on the same team. Some of them don’t even speak to each other when they’re out of the pool, it’s so bizarre.

“We were centralised for so long that we all became really good friends, but other teams say that is so rare – especially for a national team – to all be that close.”

Be sure to read the whole thing over at Frontiersports.co.uk

Scottish Water Polo assesses the legacy of the Commonwealth Championships

In a short but interesting piece over at Scottishwaterpolo.com points out that with the Commonwealth games largely based in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Water Polo Commonwealth Championships was a rare boost for Aberdeen – and that Scottish Swimming are specifically offering assistance to help grow the grassroots sport in the north of Scotland.

Many of the stories above were featured first on our Twitter and Facebook pages – be sure to follow and like our pages for the latest news. If you have feedback and story tips please contact us or comment below!

In this week’s roundup of weekly water polo news – British Women defeat World Champions, prompting calls for a funding rethink; ASA holds National Age Group Finals; Scottish and Welsh U-18 teams travel to Czech Republic; and BWPL announces venues for first phase of 2014-15 season.

Continue Reading…

England won double gold at the Commonwealth Water Polo championships in Aberdeen last week – with the Scottish Men’s team adding a bronze in what was a highly successful event for British Water Polo.

England Men’s road to the final

The English Men’s team had a relatively straightforward path to the final, disposing of eventual bronze medallists Scotland 17 – 4 and silver medallists Malta, 10 -3 on route – following a tough first game with a 14 – 10 victory over South Africa. Water Polo UK had observed that some people on Twitter and Facebook had the Maltese side down as the favourites, but England outplayed them in the gold medal match, with superior sharp shooting from the top and strong defending, they came out on top with a 16 – 9 victory.
Captain and Goal Keeper Ed Scott said:

“All the boys are absolutely chuffed. We had strong performances all the way through the tournament, and grew stronger with every game. We really prided ourselves on our solid defence along with a well organised attacking game.
The gold for both men’s and women’s England teams as well as the bronze for the Scottish men is a huge success for British water polo and is a fantastic reward for all the hard work the guys and girls have put in.”

Head Coach Andrei Iosep Added:

“In my opinion we deserved to win the competition. We suffered a little bit on the first day when we met South Africa. We didn’t know them at all and they surprised us in the first 10 minutes of the game. After that, we video analyzed all our opponents (a big thank to the women team who borrowed us their video equipment and to our volunteers Ben Alcorn and Sophie Williams who recorded our games) and we prepared well each game.

It was a hard week for me and the players with 7 games in 8 days but we grew game after game arriving on the last day in very good shape and their evolution showed 95% of what we discussed on the meeting previous to the game. I realized during the last week how important this competition was for them, and it makes me very happy they have won this gold. I could just relax and enjoy for one day, my players know how exigent I am (even after a winning game I still discuss the mistakes they make) now I am focused and ready to prepare well our next goal, qualifications for the European Championships in Belgrade.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my staff (David King and Oliver Christian) but also my ex staff Theo Nousios and Susan Dale, and of course all the people who came to support us in Scotland, I hope this victory (together with women’s victory and the Scotland’s bronze medal) will bring British Water Polo the support deserved from the authorities.”

commonwelath gold
Scotland Revenge Earns Bronze

Scotland’s path to bronze was slightly less straight forward. A tough defeat by England was preceded by a close and entertaining game against South Africa, which the Scots lost 9 – 8. Victories against Singapore, Wales and a narrow 9 -7 win against New Zealand set up a rematch with South Africa for the bronze.

Another close match ensued and with the crowd cheering them on Scotland mustered a 6 – 5 victory to take the medal.

Scotland Coach Rhys Tamlyn Said:

“An incredible rollercoaster for the Mens team. I set an objective back in January at Limerick training camp to at least try to play for bronze medal game. I thought getting to that game would be 20% higher than we could achieve but you have to set targets.

They thought It was way too high. I didn’t. We showed signs at the Limerick EU 8 Nations in March but we were patchy and inconsistent. I wanted 3 wins out of 6 games in Aberdeen & targeted Wales , SA, NZL & Singapore. We played very well against Wales. Struggled physically against Malta and played naive W Polo and the game ran away from us. Then, on Monday night we played S Africa : It was an incredible atmosphere – they were a physical side – We let in 2 early goals and also went 9 – 5 down early in the 4th but we almost got the draw but lost 9 -8.

I think at that point we started to believe we could compete at a higher level and we did. With Ramon Valvona, my assistant we studied opposition tactics and put plans in place to counter other teams strengths. We were thumped by England who counter attacked & shot at a higher level than we could cope with. NZ were up next who were also big & physical but limited in the attacking options but we beat them 9 -7 – Singapore were very limited in attacking options and we dispatched them 12 – 6 to have a repeat game v S Africa for bronze.

We had a simple plan to defend and 2 or 3 attacking options and we stuck to it. Bojan our G/K was outstanding all week and SA’s big shooters froze in front of him and we won!

Playing W Polo in front of a big crowd is almost addictive and i’d like to thank ALL the supporters from ALL the teams : They really made a huge difference to the event and a lot of credit should go to Scottish swimming for the organisation of the event

I want to thank Ramon Valvona, Richie Metcalfe our team manager, Paul Reape our physio – it was a real team effort by the support staff”

England Women Road To Gold

It was clear early on that England was a team to be taken seriously in the games, kicking off the campaign with a brutal 35 – 1 victory over Wales. Straight forward victories over Scotland, and with a little more effort South Africa, meant a dress rehearsal of the final against the Canadians – also with a 100% record. In a hard fought game the Canadians came out on top, making them slight favourites for final with a 9 – 8 win.

In the final, the England girls took a commanding 6- 3 lead at half time and led 9 – 5 going into the last quarter. But the Canadian’s rallied bringing it back to within a goal, but England were able to hold on and take revenge and the gold.
England Captain Rosie Morris said:

“So good to have won! The last month or so has been so hard after losing the funding, so it’s just the best feeling to have won! So so proud of the team. We showed such character to win the final under so much pressure from the Canadians, so i’m over the moon that we are Commonwealth champions”

waterpologirls

Coverage

There was a lot of great coverage of the games over the course of the tournament. If you want to read match reports, The Aquatics Hub did a great effort covering every game. Also Scottish Swimming did am amazing job actually showing the games live on Youtube, something WPUK would love to be able to do one day. Also a big thinks to the water polo community who helped with the WPUK Twitter feed, giving live quarterly scores.

Full scores and results are here:
https://www.scottishswimming.com/compete/water-polo/cwpc2014/fixtures-results.aspx