The Road to Eindhoven
Read about the British Gas GBR Women’s Water Polo Team’s qualification for the LEN European Water Polo Championships 2012 with our handy re-cap of the 2011 season.
29th January: Great Britain 26 - 1 Israel
The British women kicked off their qualification campaign against an Israel side who posed a relatively unknown quantity given their lack of international experience.
But the Brits put any lingering doubts to bed with a commanding performance at Loughborough University, dominating all four quarters to win 26-1.
26th March: Ukraine 7 - 11 Great Britain
A trip to Kharkiv, Ukraine was always going to be an trickier prospect for the British women in their second match of the campaign.
But after establishing a two-goal lead in the second period, the Brits closed out the match to secure their second win in two matches.
30th April: Great Britain 9 - 14 Spain
The British took on Spain at Manchester Aquatics Centre in their third qualification match with both teams looking to continue their 100 per cent record.
It was an absolutely fantastic performance from the whole team.
Having finished sixth in the 2010 European Championships, the Spanish were the seeded team in the group and lived up to their seeding with an experienced display.
The Brits were never out of the contest and the result proved a huge confidence boost for the team, who beat 2011 world champions Greece in their next competitive match - a World League qualifier.
"It was an absolutely fantastic performance from the whole team," said captain Fran Leighton.
"Everyone worked hard and I think that the experience we gained from playing in the Hungarian National League really showed."
2nd July: Spain 10 - 6 Great Britain
After another two defeats to them in the World League, the British women took on Spain for the fourth time of the season in Bilbao.
And while Barcelona-born Ciara Gibson-Byrne bagged a hat-trick for the Brits, their opponents once again held the aces as they secured a four-goal victory to all-but secure their spot in Eindhoven.
24th September: Great Britain 21 - 8 Ukraine
After a number of promising performances throughout the summer, the British women secured qualification to the 2012 European Championships with a comprehensive defeat of Ukraine in Manchester.
We did the job and everyone in the changing room in buzzing.
Having beaten Israel in their past two matches, Ukraine would have leapfrogged the Brits into second in the qualification group with a victory.
But the Brits ensured there was no upset with a rousing performance in front of a home crowd, sealing their place at the European showpiece for the first time since 1997.
"At the end of the day, we had a job to do and that was to get the points in the bag to qualify for Eindhoven," said Angie Winstanley-Smith. "Obviously we did the job and everyone in the changing room is buzzing."
15th October: Israel 3 - 21 Great Britain
The Brits took a young squad to Netanya, Israel for their final qualification match against an Israel side who had lost all five of their previous games.
Having secured their historic qualification less than a month before, the British women were high on confidence and closed out a comfortable victory to finish their campaign with four wins and two defeats and a goal difference of +51.
Great Britain 26 - 1 Israel
Spain 24 - 8 Ukraine
Spain 22 - 0 Israel
Ukraine 7 - 11 Great Britain
Great Britain 9 - 14 Spain
Israel 7 - 15 Ukraine
Spain 10 - 6 Great Britain
Ukraine 13 - 10 Israel
Spain 25 - 3 Israel
Great Britain 21 - 8 Ukraine
Ukraine 6 - 20 Spain
Israel 3 - 21 Great Britain