Help us to shape the future values and vision of Swim England at our roadshows

Who will be crowned U17 female national age group champions?

The GoCardless Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships 2024 (U17/U19) take place at the GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester this weekend.

In the build up to the competition, we’re taking a closer look at each of the sides that are looking to become national champions in the South West. The semi-finals all take place on Saturday with the gold and bronze medal matches on Sunday 21 April.

You can find out more about the four U17 female below and you can follow all our previews for the competition here.

City of Manchester

Last year’s finalists – City of Manchester – are hoping to regain their crown in the south west this weekend.

They led that final for the majority of the contest at the Sunderland Aquatics Centre in 2023 before Cheltenham came from behind to take the title.

The two clubs meet once again in the semi-finals with Manchester looking to get revenge for their defeat one year ago.

Ahead of the match, team manager Gillian Crompton said: “We are really looking forward to the weekend as a team, we have high expectations for ourselves.

“We hope to get our title back after narrowly missing out last year to strong opponents Cheltenham. We know the final will be tough but we hope the semi-finals will be a good match and help prepare us for the final.

“This year we have some younger players in the team and this is a great experience for them and we are excited to see what this team is capable of.”

Squad: Zara Caswell, Amelia Crompton, Nella Chang, Abigail Colson, Daisy Massingham, Ayla Tucker, Amy Houghton, Hanisa Becic, Ellie Donnellan, Sonal Ladha, Lillia Dean, Tiffanie Ainge, Lucy Blenkinship. Team coaches and staff: Sebastian Long, Izzy Howe and Gillian Crompton.

Cheltenham

Cheltenham’s final quarter turn around in 2023 was a credit to the clubs focus on its female programme.

They scored an incredible nine teams in the fourth quarter of last year’s final to come from 11-14 down to win 20-17 and claim the title.

Seven of that winning team return this time around after they narrowly lost out on top spot in Group A of the preliminary round to Worthing.

Their four wins from five matches did however see them qualify as runners-up where they could meet Worthing once again in the final if they can see off the tough Manchester challenge once again.

Ahead of their title defence, head coach Katy Ross says that her team will give everything in Gloucester.

She said: “This weekend promises to bring an exciting demonstration of top junior club polo to Gloucester.

“I am very proud to be coaching the U17 Cheltenham female side, who, I have no doubt, will be defending the title with everything they’ve got.

“This young side showed huge grit and determination to perform strongly in the preliminary round and we intend to bring the same level of intensity and team work to the finals.”

Squad: Sophie Leveridge, Imogen Blassberg, Edith Clarke, Jessica Day, Pippa Forrest, Clemmie Hitz, Sophia Kania, Alice Ross, Ella Webster, Alexandra Haslam, Megan Ross, Amy Thacker

West London Penguin

This West London Penguin side have already made club history before they even take to the pool in Gloucester.

2024 marks the first time ever that a Penguin female side have made the national finals – a big step in the development of the women’s programme at the club.

A number of the young side have already played in the BWPL and came through the qualification phase in second place just behind a strong City of Manchester side.

Coach Rumen Kurtev is the architect of the growth of these young athletes and he’s excited to see his side compete at this level this weekend.

He said: “To play the final stage is like a medal won for us.

“We will play without any pressure because we know that the future will be bright for our team. Like the open side, this team had their first international experience in Malta, last Easter, where they played against some of the strongest junior teams in Europe to prepare for this event (including Malta National Team and Turkey National Team)”.

Squad: Kaila Saltman, Alice Daunt, Darya Kakari, Anjelea Gallagher-Padayachy, Greta Perkins,Manpreet Gill, Jaspreet Gill, Florence Mauri- Boulogne, Emily Barea, Miia Anjala, Alba Dittli, Sarena Gallagher-Padayachy, Iskra Clarke Patel

Worthing

Like their semi-final opponents Penguin, Worthing are also bringing their first female team to a National Age Group Championship finals this weekend.

They qualified in some style too, remaining unbeaten across all five matches to top Group A. That included a narrow 3-2 victory against defending champions Cheltenham showing that the Sussex based side could be one to watch this weekend.

Only a 5-5 draw with Exeter denied them of a 100% record in qualification which will have no doubt given the team a real confidence boost as they come into their first national finals.

Club coach Lauren Hand said: “We were very pleased to top a competitive group at the U17 qualifying round where the team put in some strong performances against tough opposition.

“This group have been playing together for a while so are looking forward to developing further as a team and building on the previous success.

“We are very much looking forward to the final round in Gloucester, particularly as this is the first time we’ve had any female team (let alone two!) represent Worthing at the finals.

“All the girls are excited about the opportunity and we hope that we play as well as we possibly can.”

Squad: Amelia Cook, Calista Almeida, Elodie Riley, Jess Fleming, Skye Priede, Luisa Borgia, Lilly Dallimore, Elsie Graves, Maia Middleton, Abi Macdonald, Aimee Fleming, Florrie Cooper

A live scoreboard for the competition this weekend will be available here and you can keep up with all the action through Swim England’s social media channels. You’ll be able to find all the reports from the event on the Swim England website within the Water Polo hub.

Top