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Jackson and Jackson take National Water Polo awards

Talented goalkeepers Sophie Jackson and George Jackson both won honours at the Swim England National Awards 2017 at the University of Birmingham.

Cheltenham’s John Spicer also won an award in Birmingham, celebrated as the Coach of the Year.

The event took place at the university’s Great Hall, and recognised the vast contribution of individuals and organisations from all areas of the sport.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England CEO, said: “We have so many inspirational people involved at all levels of our sport and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate them at the Swim England National Awards.

“The day is also about thanking those behind the scenes who continue to encourage us to do our best, particularly our family and friends, and I am thrilled that so many people were able to join us in Birmingham.

“On behalf of all everyone involved with swimming, I would like to congratulate all our finalists for their achievements.”

Jackson wins Performance Athlete of the Year for Water Polo

Sophie Jackson was the first water polo player to take home an award for her sport. Jackson excels as a goalkeeper and has caught the eye of a number of club and national coaches.

She headed out to Holland last year for the European Juniors in Novi Sad, which saw her best performances to date as the British team finished sixth.

Jackson commented on her award: “We had a lot of domestic competitions this year and then some international ones like the EU Nations Cup.

“But it all built up to the European Juniors in Novi Sad. We came sixth, which is the best GB has ever done at a Europeans.”

Jackson wins England Talent Athlete of the Year

George Jackson won England Talent Athlete of the Year Award for Water Polo for his impressive performances in 2016 and 2017.

Jackson is a member of Rotherham Metro Water Polo club. During the last season he helped his club to secure promotion in the National League. At just 14 years old, he impressed with his skills as an outfield player, as well as being Rotherham’s number one goalkeeper.

Jackson was also instrumental in City of Sheffield’s victory in this year’s National Age Group U17 Championships.

Jackson said: “It’s amazing to achieve such an award for playing a sport I love. We’ve played at National Age Groups this year which we won, and then U16s Inter-Regionals last month which we came third in. But I got MVP. It’s a team sport and it’s so great to win with your team.”

Spicer wins Coach of the Year

John Spicer took home the Coach of the Year Award for his enthusiasm and commitment to water polo. He has been developing Cheltenham Water Polo club’s players, as well as regional and national players for many years.

Spicer is instrumental in running Cheltenham’s After School Water Polo Sessions which allow prospective new players the experience of water polo training.

He has worked tirelessly for the sport of water polo, and during a time of ongoing austerity continues to bring in new players to a healthy and thriving club.

Spicer commented: “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t involved in water polo. I’ve been a coach now for about 20 years. But it’s been seamless, the transition from player to helper and then to coach.

“Cheltenham is lucky because it has a good structure. We’ve got loads of coaches who can run sessions so I’m not having to be here, there and everywhere, which is really good.”

  • Click here to find out more about the Swim England National Awards and see all of the 2017 categories.