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Great Britain U20 team ready for new rule changes says Wilcox

The Great Britain U20 women’s water polo team have returned from a successful training camp in Hungary as they continue their preparations for the World Junior Championships in Volos, Greece (17 – 23 August).

With FINA testing new rules at the tournament – six players per team in the water and squads of 11 – coach Theo Nousios and his assistant Chloe Wilcox were keen for the GB players to compete against top international opposition prior to the tournament.

“The new rules have completely changed the game,” reflected Wilcox. “The players have to be incredibly fit, especially as there is more space to cover in the pool and less subs. The players’ individual strengths and weaknesses are also exploited more easily.

“With the new game, there is so much space there will be a high goal percentage, that’s for sure” – assistant coach Chloe Wilcox

“The Hungary training camp was very useful for our preparation. We played five training games and practised man-up/man-down with the Hungary U20 squad.

“The new game is full of counter attacks, drives, picks and screens with less need for ‘tactical’ plays, just individual flair and 5m fouls, etc, dominating attacks.

“Games at the World Championships are going to be full of kick-outs and goals. If a team plays a zone, all the arc players have space to finish from outside and if they press, there is a lot of space for the centre forward to win kick-outs.

“On man-up/man-down, there is so much space there will be a high goal percentage, that’s for sure.”

The GB team are now back training at the state-of-the-art East Manchester Leisure Centre, where they have been based for the past few weeks.

As well as spending their mornings and evenings in the pool, and visiting Hungary, the players recently spent a weekend outdoor swimming and hiking across the Lake District as part of their vigorous regime.

The squad will also host New Zealand, who will spend five days (9 – 13 August) training with the GB team before also competing out in Volos.

“We’re really happy with the team’s progress and we’re now excited to see how they fare against New Zealand at home in Manchester,” added Wilcox.

In Volos, Great Britain have been drawn in Group A alongside Japan, Russia and hosts Greece.

Their opening game is against the hosts on Monday, 17 August, before they face Japan on 18th and they will finish the group stage with a clash against Russia on the 19th.