The England U17 women’s water polo team are today heading to Odense, Denmark for the 2016 EU Nations Cup which takes place from 1 – 3 April.
The tournament, which is being held at the University Swimming Pool in Odense, will see the English side compete against teams from Switzerland, Malta, Ireland, Wales, Czech Republic, South Africa and Denmark.
AquaZone caught up with Emily Pilkington, Jennifer Herring, Naya Patel and Sam Murby ahead of the competition to find out a bit more about the team, including their hopes for the tournament, their role models and just why they love water polo so much…
- Age: 16
- Club: Sedgefield Water Polo Club and Leeds Sharks
- Position: Winger
My hopes for the tournament will be to win all our games and to be in the starting seven for England, score some goals, make good assists, effective defense and overall have good games as a team. I am looking forward to the adrenaline at representing England and playing international water polo!
My favourite thing about playing water polo is being part of a team, the excitement of the quick changes of the game and the feeling you get when you win is something you can only experience in sport.
My aspirations are to be starting seven in the Europeans and our team coming out as winners.
My role models are Chloe Wilcox and Carol Mohan.
My most prized possession is my photos of family, friends, events and good times.
If I wasn’t playing water polo I would be doing some aquatic sport - but I can’t imagine not doing water polo!
Something interesting that people don’t know about me is that I was born on the same day as Mike Tyson and Michael Phelps!
- Age: 16
- Club: Exeter
- Position: Outfield
Being selected for EU Nations is amazing opportunity. It will be such a fantastic experience to play against other countries, all with different styles of play to learn from. Being given the chance to test myself against tougher opposition is the part I’m looking forward to the most.
My favourite thing about water polo is I love testing myself in whatever I do, so whether its trying to win a swim-off or marking a more physical player, I like to try and push myself.
I love testing myself in whatever I do, so whether its trying to win a swim-off or marking a more physical player, I like to try and push myself.
My aspirations are to play sport for Great Britain. That’s the ultimate goal for me. It would be the ultimate privilege to be able to play a sport I love to such a high standard as a career.
My role model is I have multiple people I look up to and I think that’s important to recognise the people who inspire you. For me my friends and family are my main inspiration, as well as my coaches and other high profile athletes competing nationally.
My most prized possession is my first polo costume from my home club, Exeter.
If I wasn’t playing water polo I would be playing girls rugby most likely. I currently play for South West U18s and captain my home club Exeter Saracens U18s.
Something interesting that people don’t know about me is I love baking. Sweet or savoury, I love having a little task to work on, even if it’s only a bowl of macaroni cheese!
- Age: 16
- Club: Grantham / Hucknall
- Position: Goalkeeper
My aim for the EU Nations is to play 100% of my game in all matches working for my team and with them. I hope that the 1999 squad will be able to well as a team for the first time. My overall goal is to beat the team that went last year and come fourth or higher in the cup.
I am looking forward to seeing how other countries play the game and hoping to analyse their skills to benefit my own. I also cannot wait to finally play as a team aboard.
My favorite thing about playing water polo is how the sport is so unpredictable and unlike others. Water polo is a game of determination and skill, not about swim times and strength. These things help, but it always amazes me that the team that should win on paper, may not necessarily always win.
My aspiration is to play in the 1999 European Championships in 2018. I hope that all my dedication to the sport will all pay off and going to the EU Nations and seeing the opposition out there will hopefully help me on my way.
I hope that all my dedication to the sport will all pay off and going to the EU Nations and seeing the opposition out there will hopefully help me on my way.
My role model isn't just one person: I have many, but my main one is my dad. He is so determined in everything he does and what I do. He is so organised and attends his own training sessions for other sports every week. I hope to be as determined as him as I progress through the sport.
My most prized possession is the first individual trophy I received. It was then that I realised I had potential to go further in the sport and so that year I trialed for GB and got selected.
If I wasn't playing water polo I would be playing county netball for Lincolnshire, dreaming to get into the regional team.
Something interesting that people don't about me is that I also coach water polo. I coach 4h 30m every week for Grantham, Hucknall and East Midlands RTC.
- Age: 16
- Club: Lancaster City
- Position: Wing/Flat
I hope in the EU Nations Cup that I could score a goal because that would just be an amazing feeling or to win our division. I will be looking forward to all of it, I couldn't say just one or two things because there is just so many!
I love water polo for the little moments in games where you achieve something and that makes you so proud of yourself.
My aspirations are to play for GB in the 2018 Europeans.
My role models are the great polo players from the London 2012 Olympics.
My most prized possession is a GB bag that I got at an Inter-Regional competition for playing really well.
If I wasn't playing water polo I would be using Netflix a lot more.
Something interesting that people don't know about me is that I'm a huge fan of the band Fall Out Boy.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Head Coach Ian MacCallum said, "The EU Nations Cup is an ideal opportunity for the England 1999 squad to experience an International Competition as they start their journey to the European Junior Championships in 2018.
We are targeting winning our group that includes the hosts, Denmark and fighting for the top four places, but most importantly we want the players to enjoy the competition and to use this experience as motivation to increase their training and continue their development."
We are targeting winning our group that includes the hosts, Denmark and fighting for the top four places, but most importantly we want the players to enjoy the competition and to use this experience as motivation to increase their training and continue their development.
The England team competing in Denmark includes:
- Naya Patel – Grantham & Hucknall
- Emily Pilkington – Sedgefield
- Emily Watkins – Bristol
- Jordan Parsons– Devonport Royal
- Fleur Kennedy – Warley Water Polo
- Sam Murby – Lancaster
- Ellie Muncaster – Liverpool
- Abbie Turner – Northampton
- Sasha Tinkler-Davies – Otter
- Frances Holder – Liverpool
- Lauren Richardson – Leeds
- Rebecca Lee – Manchester
- Jennifer Herring – Exeter
And team staff:
- Head Coach: Ian MacCallum
- Assistant Coach: Andrew Wilson
- Referee: Damien Taylor
- Team Manager: Joan Dundee