> Taken from www.swimming.org/britishswimming
British Swimming has appointed Graeme Thompson as the National Performance Director for Women’s Water Polo.
Thompson brings with him vast experience in elite sport and managing programmes from grass roots to elite sport level as the former Performance Director for the Rugby Football League (RFL) and most recently as Performance Advisor with UK Sport for a variety of Olympic and Paralympic Sports, including Water Polo.
He will join the team based at the High Performance Centre in Manchester with a focus on the further improvements to the women’s national squad, which is benefitting from an increased investment of £4.5m from UK Sport for the Rio Olympic cycle. This is up from £2.9m which was shared between the men’s and women’s in the run up to London.
His key objective will be to build on the progress the team has made in the past few years, qualifying for the European Championships for the first time in 15 years in 2012 and the experience gained from competing in London.
The primary focus will be to gain Olympic qualification for Rio 2016 and to improve on their London performance results with a longer term view to become regular medal contenders.
Thompson will also provide high level strategic guidance to British Water Polo and will look to improve the talent development pathways.
“This is a great opportunity for both me and the sport,” said Thompson. “I’m really looking forward to getting started.
“The team has made very good progress in recent years and has significant potential for Rio. I’m looking to drive British Water Polo to be competing with the best in 2016.
“I will be looking at developing aspects of the talent pathways leading to the elite team, towards making us, Great Britain, one of the most competitive Water Polo nations in 2016 and beyond”
British Swimming CEO David Sparkes welcomed the appointment. He said: “Graeme’s appointment further strengthens the British Swimming Women’s Water Polo team who have made significant gains in the past few years and were rewarded with additional funding through to Rio 2016, our focus being to achieve qualification.
“Graeme brings with him a wealth of experience from UK Sport and from the RFL, where he played a strong role in driving up performance from grassroots to elite levels and we look forward to using his experience and leadership in the Water Polo programme.”