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Ten schools awarded funding to help uncover new water polo talent

Funding has been awarded to ten schools across the country in an effort to introduce more youngsters to water polo.

The Swimming Trust has generously donated £5,000, which, in partnership with Swim England, has been allocated equally among the selected schools – which will now set about creating new teams in a bid to grow the sport.

The initiative is part of the Swim England Water Polo strategic goal of doubling the number of registered players in the next five years.

Equipment such as balls, hats and goals can be purchased or the money may be used to pay for the hire of swimming pools, for example.

The successful schools and recipients of the funding are:

  • Applemore College, Hampshire
  • The Astley Cooper School, Dacorum
  • Avon Valley College, Wiltshire
  • Bradley Stoke Community School, South Gloucestershire
  • Braeburn Primary and Nursery School, Scarborough
  • The Marlborough Science Academy, Hertfordshire
  • The John Warner School, Hertfordshire
  • Westfield Academy, Yeovil
  • Coombe Wood School, Croydon
  • Elizabeth Woodville School, Northamptonshire

‘Backbone of our sport’ 

Toby King, chair of the Swim England Water Polo Leadership Group, has praised the initiative and The Swimming Trust for their support.

“This funding is a really positive step forward for water polo and Swim England is incredibly thankful to The Swimming Trust for their generosity and support,” he said.

“The younger generation forms the backbone of the sport and so to see these schools receiving this funding and having the opportunity to expand the sport at a grassroots level is fantastic.

“Swim England is here to support and advise on how to best establish a school team and how to facilitate progression into a club for any athlete that wishes to do so.”

Becky Walker, club growth and programme manager at Swim England, said: “We have had a high amount of interest in this project and, unfortunately, haven’t been able to fund every school that applied.

“However, those that were unsuccessful in this bid have been put in touch with the water polo lead at the English Schools Swimming Association as well as their Swim England regional water polo manager.

“These individuals will be able to support them in making links with local clubs so that some level of water polo activity can still be implemented within their school’s structure.

“Ultimately, the overall progression of the sport is a priority for us and we are here to support and assist in any way that we can.”

Each successful school will be given until the end of the coming 2021-22 academic year to utilise the funding and will be required to demonstrate to Swim England by September 2022 how the money has been spent and the impact of the project.

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