North and South crowned Water Polo Talent Centre national champions

The North and South talent centres split the awards evenly – winning two trophies each – as they were crowned Swim England Water Polo Talent Centre national champions for 2023.

It was another positive event hosted at the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry, with a clear improvement in the standard of water polo on display.

All talent centres and athletes showed progress and development, both since the previous Talent Games held in March, but also overall since the start of the new initiative.

The U16 boys’ gold medal match was the closest result of the weekend with just one goal separating the teams and deciding who took home the trophy.

It was the North talent centre who secured a 15 – 14 victory over the London talent centre to earn the title of champions.

The bronze medal match saw the talent centre from the Midlands take a 10 – 8 win against the South.

Before achieving bronze in the U16s age group, the Midlands were on the hunt for gold in the U14 boys’ event.

They faced off against a strong North side, who were looking for a first title of their own and were able to hold off the Midlands-based opposition to win 11 – 7.

Fine form

The North were dominant in the boys’ events, which led to them being crowned U14 and U16 champions.

The U14 boys bronze medals were awarded to London following their 9 – 6 victory over the South.

Despite their resilient efforts, there was no medals for the South talent centre in the boys’ events. However, the girls’ teams were on fine form as they also doubled up on titles.

They came up against the North in both gold medal matches and finished on the right side of the result on both occasions.

The first gold medal match was the U14 girls, with the final score reading as a 13 – 7 victory for the South. London went on to beat the Midlands 16 – 8 to clinch bronze.

South then secured an 18 – 7 win in the final gold medal match of this year’s Talent Games, the U16 girls event.

The Midlands talent centre claimed their second bronze as they beat the London talent centre 10 – 8.

Overall standard great to see

One parent, Mel Wass, praised the Talent Games and described it as a ‘fantastic weekend’.

She added: “It was fabulous to see the players supporting each other, regardless of which talent centre they train at.

“And to watch players building friendships that will last a lifetime regardless of the results – playing a team sport is one of the most life enriching experiences you can give your child.”

Summarising the weekend, Swim England Water Polo talent and inclusion officer, Andy McGinty, said: “We are really pleased to see how much the athletes and coaches are developing.

“The weekend displayed everything that the Talent Games are about, with a lot of interesting workshops held alongside some superb performances in the pool.

“Congratulations to those who were crowned champions – but also a huge well done to those who may not have taken home a trophy this time around – because the overall standard was great to see.

“And a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, officials and referees who helped to support the event.”

The Swim England Water Polo Talent Centre programmes will continue from September, with further details to be confirmed soon.