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New water polo programme sets youngsters on exciting pathway

More than 40 young water polo players attended the launch of a new programme which seeks to provide greater opportunities for young athletes to get involved in the sport.

A group of local swim teachers recently received expert educator training from the Institute of Swimming at a Places Leisure training day at Waltham Abbey.

They were guided through the water polo specific Stages 8-10 of the Learn to Swim Pathway, with a view to supporting the new programme of activity at Loughton Leisure Centre.

These sessions will provide youngsters with a basic introduction to water polo, setting them on the pathway towards competing at club, regional and national level.

Andy Fuller, Swim England Water Polo Development Manager, said: “I am delighted that so many children were able to enjoy our sport and I hope that this acts as the start of a lifelong enjoyment of water polo.

“This opportunity was the result of a great partnership. I would like to thank Places Leisure, the Institute of Swimming and Epping Forest District Swimming Club for their support.”

Growing opportunities

Places Leisure will seek to expand the programme to its other sites throughout the country.

With its staff upskilling to deliver the water polo elements of the Learn to Swim Pathway, a new avenue has been opened to retain their members.

Loughton Leisure Centre will work in partnership with Epping Forest District Swimming Club to deliver the Stage 8-10 programmes.

Michelle McGolpin, the Contract Swimming Development Manager for Places Leisure, said: “Working alongside Epping Forest District Swimming Club will allow us to open up pathways for older children to stay in swimming and enjoy an aquatic sport, honing their water polo skills and transferring into a more competitive environment when they are ready.

“As both sessions are running alongside each other, it will help our swimmers to see what they need to inspire to, in order to develop and progress into the club coaching element of the sport.

“We hope that by working together in this way, we can further cement our newly-found relationship with the club to enable swimmers across our contract clearer pathways into an aquatic career, whether it be in competitive swimming or water polo.”