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Swim England Water Polo Talent Games returns for 2024

The first of two Swim England Water Polo Talent Games events takes place this weekend at Coventry’s Alan Higgs Sports Centre as the event returns for 2024.

The two day event held on 27 and 28 April will see U14 and U16 athletes from each of the five water polo talent centres come together for a weekend of learning and competition in the midlands.

It follows on from the success of last year’s inaugural events, which gave both open and female teams from each age group the opportunity to compete against each other in full matches under World Aquatics conditions.

Like with the previous Talent Games, education will be at the heart of the weekend with workshops for athletes, parents and coaches across the two days.

Players will get the chance to hear from Swim England DiSE tutor and assessor Kerrie Slevin on how to balance school and sport as well as a presentation and Q&A session with Great Britain’s U19 Open/Male athletes Pierre Rivet and Henry Jackson and team manager James Jackson.

Swim England’s national talent and events welfare officer Rebecca Wood will also lead both parents and coaches through a safeguarding workshop whilst a number of coach developers will also be in attendance to work with coaches across the weekend.

You can find out more about the talent centre programme and each of the five talent centres based in Bolton, Borehamwood, Bristol, Croydon and Maltby here.

An exciting weekend ahead

The first of this year’s matches between the talent centres will also take place as the battle to see which centre comes out on top gets underway.

Following the addition of the fifth Talent Centre at Boreham-Wood, the team’s will play in a round robin format taking on two teams at this weekend’s event and the other two teams at this summer’s Talent Games which will take place on 6-7 July.

In 2023 the North and South talent centres split the titles evenly in an event which showed a clear improvement in the standard of water polo from across the year.

Speaking ahead of the Games this weekend, Swim England water polo talent and inclusion officer Andy McGinty is excited to see the level of talent on display this time around.

He said: “We’re all really looking forward to our first Talent Games event this weekend.

“Athletes, parents and coaches all seemed to really enjoy the events last year and the extra training that their talent centres have been providing since we launched the programme.

“This weekend we’re hoping to build on that by further incorporating the educational side of the sport alongside seeing some of the incredible talent from across the country compete in the pool.

“We’re also thrilled to have our fifth talent centre in Borehamwood join the event for the first time as we continue our aims to provide more opportunities for young players so that they can reach their full potential.

“It promises to be an exciting weekend and hope that everyone who comes along is able to take something from the experience to support them going forward.”

Alongside the workshops, Swim England is also running a table officials course for anyone interested in learning more and volunteering within the sport.

Limited spaces are still available and you can both sign up and find out more by emailing Mike Hesketh at [email protected]. Spectator tickets are also available to purchase here.

Check out the video below to find out more about what the Talent Games events are all about.