August 28, 2019

Guernsey Water Polo Players Selected for Regional Academy

After a year of their junior programme, Guernsey Water Polo (GWP) recently invited an England Regional Coach to look at both their junior and senior programmes to assist in developing future plans for the club. The club was quite taken back when seven of the juniors were selected by the coach to attend the Regional Academy for 12-15 year olds. Those selected were Maddy Russell, Grace Bennalick, Harrison Mahe, William Kilpatrick, Padraig McClay, Ed Cooper and Jack James. Grace, the eldest of the juniors had only one remaining competition for her age group this year, which was being held in only a few months time, so it was vital that she attended the Regional Academy as soon as possible in order to try and make the Regional Team.

The travel for the trip to Gatwick for seven juniors and four adults equated to over £3,500 for flights alone (excluding hotel, train and meals). It was at this point that GWP contacted the Ray Lowe Sporting Foundation for support and we are hugely grateful for the financial support received. GWP are committed to keeping costs down for their members and only charge those in full-time education £50 for the year to be a member.

Our juniors travelled to the training session at the Regional Academy in Worthing. The session was held in a pool with a moveable floor, 3 metres deep and 8 lanes wide (unlike anything in Guernsey). Following that session, Maddy Russell and Grace Bennalick were selected to play for the South East Regional Team.

Both players represented the South East region at the inter-regional tournament in Walsall on 6-7th July. The standard of this tournament was impressive, and Ireland U- 15s dominated the tournament. However, Grace Bennalick scored her first goal in the UK, against Ireland, a moment her mum and I will never forget. The girls made some amazing friends during that tournament, arriving as timid, nervous players and leaving motivated and confident. We are incredibly thankful to the Ray Lowe Foundation for providing support so early on, enabling our girls to have an unforgettable experience. We plan to attend another Regional Academy session later in the year and hope our younger players will get selected for their inter-regional tournament, which will be held in December 2019.