When did you start playing water polo and why?
When I was about 12 I moved from swimming to the water polo side of the club as I preferred team sports and wanted to be part of the success that the Lancaster senior men were having.
Describe yourself in five words
Tall, competitive, laid back, dedicated
Name three people who helped you become the water polo player you are today and why?
- Ron Winn (Lancaster) – my first water polo coach who introduced me to the sport and helped in my development from being able to first catch a ball in water to becoming an international player.
- Eelco Uri (Great Britain) – during my time with Eelco he improved my shooting technique and made me more game aware in all aspects of water polo, which vastly improved my game.
- Andre Iosep (Great Britain + England) – under Andre, we as a team had some great results against many professional teams and won the Commonwealth water polo championships in 2014.
How do you prepare yourself for a game?
Most of my preparation is done in the weeks before games by putting in lots of hours in the pool. On the day I make sure that I eat and drink enough a few hours before warm up. I then tend to relax and have a laugh with my team mates and trust that the work I have put in during training is enough to help me in the game.
You started in the NWPL (BWPL) when you were 15, what was it like when you first started?
It was very tough when I first started as I was coming into a senior side which was full of international talent with the likes of Colin Burgess, Dougie Campbell and Chris Hartley in the team to name only a few. My first game was against our long time rivals Bristol, I remember playing only a few minutes as the game was much quicker and more physical than the junior games which I had been used to.
You have won the highest goal scorer many times in the past six years, is this something you plan at the start of each season and does the team help you?
No I don’t think you can plan for something like that I just go into each game looking for the opportunity to score as most people do. It helps when you have players like Ryan Pinington who are very good at driving and blocking helping me to get the space to take the shot, so long as the team wins the highest scorer trophy is just a bonus.
As the captain of the team, what do you think Lancaster current strengths are now and going into the future?
We have a very young team and for us to be so close to more experienced squads over the last two season it shows that we are on the right track and I think we will only get stronger. We are a very strong unit and work hard for each other in the pool and have a never say die attitude which has brought us many points over this season, looking forward I expect us to keep challenging for the league and cup titles.
How do you cope with working shifts as a firefighter and balancing out training and weekends away?
I am fairly disciplined with my training and so I can do swimming sessions on my own when I can’t make training which helps to keep me at a high standard. The weekends away are a little bit more difficult and I have to do lots of shift swaps with people on my station to help me play each weekend. Over the last few seasons I have actually played on the Saturday, gone to work on the night and come back to the pool Sunday morning to play again, not recommended but sometimes it has to be done!