Great Britain's senior women prepared for first European Championship in a decade

Great Britain’s senior women’s water polo squad have the ‘full support of everyone back home’ as they prepare to start the nation’s first European Championship campaign in a decade on Friday.

The group made history by topping their qualification group back in June to become the first British side to qualify for the event since the 2014 edition in Budapest.

Now they await the challenge of taking on Europe’s best at the home of the world champions – the Netherlands – inside the famous Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium.

Great Britain have been drawn in a competitive Group D alongside Slovakia, Bulgaria and Germany as they aim to progress to the latter stages of the Championships.

A squad of 14 players have been flown out to the Netherlands where they are currently undergoing a training camp in Zeist – a town just outside of Utrecht – ahead of the event in Eindhoven.

The tournament takes place from 5-13 January where the GB team will be part of a new look competition.

This year’s finals have been split into two divisions for the first time where the women’s competition has also been expanded to 16 teams to match the men’s event.

The new format – which has been used in the age group events – means that Great Britain must finish in the top two of their group and then defeat one of the top eight sides from last year’s competition to reach the quarter-finals.

Amongst the side looking to do just that is Katie Brown née Hesketh – who is the only member of the current squad that competed at the European Championships for Great Britain ten years ago.

‘Enjoy the experience’

She’s joined by a host of the nation’s top talent that apply their trade both at home and overseas.

It includes the likes of Lily Turner who is coming off a strong season in both the USA and in Greece as well as goalkeeper Sophie Jackson who won the top keeper award at the Danube Cup last month where Great Britain went on to win the tournament.

Kathy Rodgers continues to captain the side with Annie Clapperton as vice-captain and Cheltenham’s Amelie Perkins heads to the tournament as the youngest member of the squad at just 16 years of age.

There’s also some history of this competition amongst the coaching staff as assistant coach Peggy Etiebet was also part of the British squad in 2014 as she and team manager Rose Younger continue to support head coach Nick Buller and the squad throughout the event.

Ahead of the action getting underway in the Netherlands, Swim England Water Polo Programme Lead, Craig Figes, said: “I want to wish Nick, Peggy, Rose and the entire squad the best of luck throughout the competition in Eindhoven.

“This is a special team who have performed incredibly well to make it to our first Championships in a decade. I hope they take the time to enjoy the experience and know that whatever happens they have already made us all proud.

“They’ve got the full support of everyone back home and we can’t wait to watch them represent the nation.”

The entirety of the Championships will be streamed live on the Eurovision Sport website and app whilst the full schedule and live results can be found on the event website.

Great Britain’s water polo squad for the 2024 Women’s European Water Polo Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands (5-13 January 2024):

  • Katie Brown née Hesketh
  • Annie Clapperton
  • Katy Cutler
  • Toula Falvey
  • Vicki Hawkins
  • Sophie Jackson
  • Niamh Moloney
  • Amelie Perkins
  • Amelia Peters
  • Alex Robinson
  • Kathy Rodgers
  • Brooke Tafazolli
  • Lily Turner
  • Lotte Van Wingerden
  • Nick Buller, head coach
  • Peggy Etiebet, assistant coach
  • Rose Younger, team manager