Water Polo Talent Centre expansion gives ‘more players the environment to improve’

The Swim England Water Polo Talent Centre initiative is being expanded after a successful first year that has provided ‘young players with the environment to improve’.

The initiative that launched in January offers elite coaching to young players aged 13-16 from a team of experienced international coaches.

Initially, four talent centres were set up in Bolton, Hucknall, Croydon and Bristol who all recruited a number of talented young players that have developed their game thanks to regular training sessions across the year.

Now the scheme is being expanded to include a fifth centre based in the East at Haberdashers Boys School in Borehamwood.

Heading up the new centre will be experienced coach Edi Brkovic – who is currently the head coach at Watford Water Polo Club and is a previous Academy Head Coach.

They along with the other talent centres will follow a national syllabus that is designed to equip players with all the tools they need to thrive on the international stage.

The aim is to spread the programme across the country to help build towards Swim England’s long-term aims of improving the performance of England and Great Britain’s teams at international level.

The talent centres look to achieve the first stage of that – by improving the frequency of high-quality training and coaching that is available to young water polo players.

And at the end of each term, the Talent Centres face off at the Water Polo Talent Games events where they play full matches under World Aquatics conditions as well as taking part in a number of educational workshops for players, coaches and families.

“Learning and developing their skills”

On the expansion of the centres, Rose Younger, Swim England Water Polo Talent Inclusion Officer, said: “The Water Polo Talent Centres and Talent Games have proved to be a huge success.

“It’s great to see so many youngsters learning and developing their skills throughout each term and at both Talent Games events so far it’s been clear to see how much improvement there has been from the players involved.

“It has proven how much talent we have in this country and with more high quality coaching and pool time we can really move the sport forward in England and Great Britain.

“That’s why we wanted to expand the programme so that we can provide the environment so more players have the opportunity to improve and we can give them that desire to take their water polo career further.

“We’ve had so much success in water polo this year – highlighted by our senior women reaching the European Championships – and we hope that with opportunities like this that we can see more of that in the years to come.”

Trials now available

Coach Brkovic along with each of the other centres are looking for new players for the start of the next Talent Centre year.

Trials cost £25 and those athletes who already have a place at the Talent Centres do not need to re-trial.

Applications for trials are open until Sunday 20 August and all the details on how to apply are available here.