U13 Team Wins National English Schools Swimming Association Water Polo Cup 2023!
By Mr Bent, Swimming and Water Polo Coach
Last week our U13 water polo team travelled to Northampton School for boys for the final of the National English Schools Swimming Association Water Polo Cup 2023.
Our 11-strong U13 squad included eleven pupils from Year 7 and 8. We set off early to beat the traffic and have time for an all-important team talk in the services just before Northampton. Although my nails were getting shorter by the minute, the team all seemed fairly relaxed and were taking it in their stride.
Claudio Palumbo, the water polo coach from Penguins (a local water polo club with which we have linked up for our own talent pathway), gave valuable advice to the team on how they should prepare and what they may expect from the very strong opposition that had qualified in this six-team tournament.
We were the second game to play on the fixture sheet and enjoyed a very positive victory against James Allen Girls school, winning 7-1, which allowed most of our players to be involved and get into the spirit of the occasion. Our next game, Match 6, was against a very strong Manchester High side, who actually won the competition last year. After a very tight match we finally snatched a victory 2-1 by raising our game at the right time and keeping our heads high.
The next round were winners of pool A v Pool B for Match 7, so not much rest after the previous game but we were so buzzing that we managed a convincing win over Alleyn’s 8-1, which guaranteed us a place in the Final.
So, this was it! Match 11 the ESSA National final 2023 and we were playing against our nemesis from the previous age groups U18 and U15, Bolton School for Girls. But this was to be our day. After a tactical and competitive game we demonstrated just how resilient our students can be, coming away with a 4-3 victory and another opportunity to have our school name engraved on the winner’s trophy for 2023.
It’s such a fantastic victory for the all the players. Thanks to all who have helped on their pathway to success, which starts by sowing the seeds of love for the sport at school. It grows with Claudio and his team at Penguins, swimming coaches from various clubs, and parents that enable our girls to enjoy additional training in and out of school.
Congratulations to Lily, Lara, Manpreet, Abi, Iskra, Romilly, Aneira, Emily, Alice, Nikhita and Ella!