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Four teams ready to battle it out for the U19 open national title

We’re just one day away from the start of the GoCardless Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships 2024 (U17/U19).

In the build up to the competition, we’re taking a closer look at each of the sides that are competing at finals weekend.

Here we take a look at the U19 Open event which sees teams from England, Scotland and Ireland all aim to become national champions in the South West. You can check out our previews for each of the other three events here.


We start with defending champions Worthing who are looking to make it three national age group titles in as many years at the GL1 Leisure Centre this weekend.

They started their title defence in the best possible way with a 100% record in Group B of the preliminary round back in February.

Convincing victories against Watford, Solihull and Croydon secured their return to finals weekend where they’ll face a new challenger in the semi-finals.

Their competition opens up with a match against Irish side Corrib who impressed in Group A and will be a new opponent to a Worthing side which includes last year’s MVP Henry Broadhurst and goalkeeper of the tournament Felix Monaghan.

Ahead of the event, head coach Alastair Roberts said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to play at Gloucester but all of the squad realise that it will be a tough competition.

“We have been drawn to play against a team from outside of the UK in the semi-final who we know very little about, and as a result this will pose a particular challenge, but all the boys are looking forward to playing.

“The squad has been together throughout the various age groups and they have made really good progress because of the hard work and commitment that they have made over the past few years.”

Squad: Felix Monaghan, Luke Heaton, Joe Boot, Jamie Miles, Archie Moon, Henry Broadhurst, Ethan Lecuyer, Olly Phillips, Nik Karamanlis, Tumay Evcimen, Indy Nash, Sammy Smith, Joey Taylor.


Back-to-back finalists Cheltenham will be hoping to take to the top step of the podium once again on Sunday.

After victory in 2022, they had to settle for second place last time around where Worthing came out on top with an 8-7 victory.

They booked their ticket back to the finals on goal difference ahead of West London Penguin.

The two sides drew 6-6 but Cheltenham’s wins against Northampton and Beckenham earnt them the point to send them through to the finals for the third straight year.

Those victories showed the class that this team possesses and they’ll be confident that with these players at their disposal they can regain their title.

Ahead of the competition, head coach Stu McKie said: “I’m delighted to be coaching the U19s again at the national age group finals, which this year’s seems to have stretched out to all the home nations!

“It’s a third successive finals for Cheltenham in this age group, something we’re immensely proud of. We’ve been training hard and looking forward to a home crowd at Gloucester helping us along.”

Cheltenham will take on Caledonia in their semi-final match.

Squad: Kristijan Drobnjak, Will Bamborough, Sam Leveridge, Rex Lewis, Harrison Walsh, Toby Chilcott, Jack HintonDavies, Tom Dally, Alfie Clarke, Hugo Rodriguez, Harvey Mitchell, Louie Mckie, Liam Barnes.


Caledonia return to the finals for the third consecutive year after finishing runners-up in an evenly contested and closely fought qualification group in Matlock back in February.

Impressive victories over City of Manchester, City of Sheffield and Rotherham, demonstrated the Scottish sides resilience and fighting spirit to reach this year’s finals.

The only blip on their record was a narrow 6-5 defeat against Corrib – a match which could have gone either way.

After back-to-back fourth place finishes in the competition, this time round the Scottish side are hoping to go all the way, starting with Saturday’s semi-final with Cheltenham.

The teams Head Coach Ali Campbell commented: “I am so proud of the boys for reaching the finals for the third year in a row.

“I challenged them to play with composure as well as their usual intensity and they did so brilliantly in the preliminary round. Now we are all really looking forward to the finals!

“We would like to thank Kirkcaldy Ford Centre for their continued support of the boys this year, making their participation in this year’s tournament possible.”

Squad: Edwin Walker, Ali Shippey, Murray Dickson, Cailean Thomson, Ben Williamson, Jackson Shaw, Lyall Webster, Fraser Walker, Euan Mitchell, Georgios Tachtatzis, Jason Dickson, Joe Mathieson, Logan Vandermeulen.


Taking the trip over the Irish Sea to Gloucester are reigning Irish U19 cup and league champions Corrib Water Polo Club.

The team based in Galway, Ireland are looking to make a major impact on the tournament after topping a strong Group A which included Caledonia, City of Manchester, Rotherham and City of Sheffield.

They did this with a 100% record and face the toughest of tests when they take on defending champions Worthing in semi-finals.

Head coach Dorin Costras – who represented Romania at the 1980 Olympic Games – has selected the same group of players that competed in the preliminary round for the finals and the club are looking forward to testing themselves this weekend.

Club Chairman Padraig Smyth commented: “The club wanted to enter the Swim England Water Polo national Age Group championships to test ourselves against some of the best teams in the United Kingdom.

“This is an excellent competition to extend our season and we feel we have a very good squad of players who can compete at this level.

“We were obviously delighted to top our group in the qualifying stages in February and our players are excited to be in the finals and test themselves once again. We have no doubts about the quality of the opposition we will face this weekend, anything beyond this point is a bonus for us, but hopefully we will give a good account of ourselves.”

Squad: Liam Smyth, Michael Cunningham Smyth, Daehan Coll, Rory Bundschu, Kyle Cosgrove, Ewen  Le Duigou Etayo, Michael Dempsey, Colm Shaughnessy, Nara Coll, James Murphy, Ruairi Walsh, Iker González Fernández, Paddy Cunningham Smyth. Team staff: Dorin Costra, Joe Cosgrove, Padraig Smyth.

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.