You’ve seen swimming pools before, right? I’m not talking about your local leisure centre, with children in the shallow end splashing other patrons or “not-as-bad-as-they-look” collisions when two people go down the slide at once. I mean the realm of real athletes, swimming lengths end to end. Now, that’s all well and good – it’s an excellent way to stay in shape – but wouldn’t it be great if there was something more high-octane and spectator-friendly? Something fast-paced, maybe even with contact? If, after reading this, you’re now sitting forward, quivering with excitement, nose pressed against the screen, then you’ve come to the right place. Allow me to welcome you into the world of Water Polo at UWE Bristol.
The teams accrue accolades at the rate a boxer builds up bruises and broken bones. The men’s first team achieved first place in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) South Premier league last academic year and the women’s first team finished third in the BUCS Western 1A league. Both achievements particularly impressive considering most of them consisted of new players. Both teams will now be competing in the Western 1A league this year.
Alumnus Craig Figes has represented Britain over 450 times, with a sporting career spanning nearly 20 years. He was also the youngest player ever to be selected for the GB U20’s, at age 13, and has even captained the GB Water Polo team at the 2012 Olympics. They’re also coached by Rhys Tamlyn, an ex-GB international player, so clearly the team is in good hands.
Let’s be honest, no one does anything at university unless they care about it a lot and nowhere is this passion more apparent than with the UWE Bristol Water Polo teams. They train for over three and a half hours each week, at Horfield Leisure Centre and Bristol University’s pool, and attend strength and conditioning sessions with a performance coach. All of this is balanced expertly around their university studies.
The next game is a Varsity match against Bristol University on the 2nd December. I’ll certainly be there (not just because it’s my job) and I strongly recommend you join me.
Gabriel Ciechan – BA Journalism (1st year)
Get your tickets for Varsity Water Polo and all other Varsity series matches on the 2017/18 Varsity Series website.