Over the weekend of the 18th-19th December, Jess D (LR) competed in the Swim England Water Polo National U15 Championships 2021, with her club, Cheltenham.
The Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships is the premier competition for young Water Polo players in Great Britain. This year the competition was held in Ponds Forge, Sheffield. This is the first time the National Age Group Championships have been held for the U15 age group since November 2019.
Jess attained an outstanding achievement becoming National Champion with her club. There were 2 pools of 5 teams with each team playing each other in the group stages. Jess’s team won all of their matches and qualified for the final against the winner of the other pool, which was the City of Manchester team. They won the final by 8-5, with Jess scoring 3 of the goals. It is the first time in club history that Cheltenham has won the girl’s national title.
Last weekend Jess also trailed for the England National Water Polo Academy in Coventry. The National Academy involves the top 30 boys and top 30 girls at U14 and U16 age groups meeting the National Academy Standards, scoring well on the Selection Assessments and then being selected from across the seven Regional Academies to join the National Academy. The trial took place over Saturday and Sunday, and Jess heard on Tuesday that she had been successful.
Jess is now part of the squad which could lead to a place in the England team later this year, following in her brothers’ footsteps, Daniel D (U6) who plays for the GB U19 team.
National Academy players will then be part of two-weekend training camps that emulate a National Squad environment, followed by a five- or six-day overseas camp. Players will be then be selected on their progress and commitment shown.
Huge congratulations go to Jess with this fantastic achievement on becoming National Champion and for being selected into the National Academy squad, we wish her the best of luck going forward!