Great Britain's women's water polo team will be returning to the sport's global stage for the first time in more than a decade next month as they gear up for the 2024 World Aquatics Championships - thanks to their memorable journey at the European Championships.
The GB team, captained by Kathy Rogers, secured their spot at the World Championships in Doha by virtue of placing seventh at the European Water Polo Championships in Eindhoven, a thrilling 11-9 victory over Croatia in their final match at the weekend ensuring they finished as one of the top three finishers outside a quartet of teams already qualified for the Worlds.
It means a British water polo outfit will contest World Championships fixtures for the first time since 2013, with Nick Buller's team drawn into Group D against Canada - who were in their group in Barcelona 11 years ago - South Africa and 2023 bronze medallists Italy.
That first official return to the World Championship pool will take place on Sunday 4th February, when GB face off with the Italians at the Aspire Dome, in what will be another momentous step for a team progressing at an impressive rate back towards the top levels of the sport.
Reflecting on Britain's impressive displays at the European Championships, and the prospect of their return to a World Championship competition, Swim England Water Polo Programme Lead Craig Figes said: "The return of a GB team to the World Championships in Doha is fantastic for the sport of water polo in the UK, 11 years on from our last appearance at that level.
"The hard work of this squad, players and staff has led to the biggest buzz around water polo since London 2012. Their performances at the recent European Championships were outstanding, and they deserve their chance to compete at the Worlds in Doha - and I hope this is the start of a really positive era for British water polo."
Having claimed a 100 per cent record in Group D to kickstart the European Championships – thanks to wins against Slovakia, Germany and Bulgaria, Britain went on to defeat Israel on penalties and then end with that crucial victory against Croatia, after losing the quarter-final to reigning world champions the Netherlands and then Hungary in the first classification game.
Centre forward Toula Falvey finished as GB’s top scorer with 16 goals, while Lily Turner notched 14 across the competition and skipper Rogers scored 11 times.