British Swimming are pleased to publish a proposed event schedule for our senior and age-group British water polo teams, as well as those representing the Home Nations, for the remainder of 2021 and 2022.
Following joint consultation with Swim England, Scottish Swimming and Swim Wales, we are able to confirm the list of domestic and international competitions that Great Britain and England, Scotland and Wales water polo teams are aiming to contest over the next two years, laying the platform for a progressive, long-term vision for the sport in this country.
With senior, Under-19 and Under-17 squads all included in the schedule, this plan is set to further outline the pathways for our top-level teams, as well as enhancing individual and squad development across the men's and women's talent bases.
Among the standout events are the World University Games in Chengdu, China (18-29 August 2021), while the British women's U17s are set to compete in the European Under-17 Championships in Sibenik, Croatia (22-28 August 2021). The men's U17 outfit will be in action in their rescheduled European qualifier in June, ahead of the European Championships in Malta later in the year (12-19 September). The men's and women's U19s will target their own European qualifying bid next year, in May 2022.
There are also eye-catching opportunities for the separate Home Nations teams - including the Commonwealth Championships Tournament in England, from 17-25 April 2022. Given the unique circumstances of the past year and the current national and global situation, dates or other event details could be subject to change - and any relevant updates will be communicated.
Once the reopening of pools is underway and National Squad training can recommence, a more detailed illustration will be published, detailing when further activity and other events will happen to enable clubs, counties and regions to prepare appropriately. Training dates for squads cannot be confirmed until pools are reopened. Where possible, British Swimming and the Home Nations will endeavour to avoid any clashes with the British Water Polo League (BWPL) schedule - although this may, on occasion, be unavoidable.
On the new-look event agenda, Fergus Feeney, CEO of Swim Wales and Chair of the British Water Polo Leadership Group, said:
“The new schedule for both domestic and international competitions that Great Britain and England, Scotland and Wales’s water polo teams can access across the rest of 2021 and 2022 is a very positive step forward for polo.
“The GB leadership group has worked very hard over the last few months (with the three Home Nations chairs and staff) to produce a schedule that meets the aspirations of the community, the NGBs, and the GB federation. Despite the challenges of the last year, we continue to move the sport forward and on to a better place post-lockdown”.
On the subject of European club competition, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of the British Championships in 2020, the Home Nation Leadership Group had to make a decision on which club teams British Swimming would enter into the Champions League and Euro Cup, organised by LEN.
The decision was made that the fairest and most transparent way to select the best club teams, in absence of the British Championships, would be the BWPL. After consulting with the BWPL, it was decided that the top four ranked sides from the Super 5s competition would be entered into the above tournaments. This selection applies only to this year.
After needing to make this decision, it gave us an opportunity to review the process moving forward. Given the ongoing challenges that the pandemic presents with regard to knowing what domestic events will or will not happen in 2021, we have decided that the four teams for future European club competitions will be made up from one or more of the following competitions: British Championships; Champions Cup; Super 5s. Further clarity on the final decision and process will be issued as we emerge from the national lockdown and have a better picture.
The proposed event schedule for the British and Home Nations teams can be found below.