1 February 2024
Over the weekend, eleven pupils from Bolton School Girls’ and Boys’ Divisions were nominated to take part in the 2024 ESSA Duke of Cambridge Water Polo Cup, held in Coventry. The cup, in its first iteration at an U14 level, was a one-day tournament for the best 60 boys and best 60 girls water polo players in education in England and born in 2010. Players were put forward by their school or through the Swim England Talent Centre Programme. They were then randomly allocated to one of four teams: Vulcan, Typhoon, Hurricane or Spitfire. The competition gave the budding water polo stars the opportunity to compete with and against players from across the country.
Earlier in January, five Bolton School water polo players were chosen to take part in a national U16 Talent Festival, arranged along similar lines to the Duke of Cambridge Cup.
Bolton School’s water polo coach Andy McGinty, who also coaches with Swim England, where he is Water Polo and Inclusion Officer, played an integral part in launching the talent centres. They offer elite coaching to the U14 and U16 age groups with the aim of equipping the players with all they will need to thrive at international level. In Bolton, talent centre players meet regularly at the Jason Kenny Centre in town.
Bolton School has a long history of national success at water polo, both current pupils and alumni play for national title-winning City of Manchester squads and are regularly called up to play at regional and international level. Several players have contributed to national teams taking part in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
Last year, the Girls’ Division U18 and U15 teams became national champions and the year before saw pupil Harriet Dickens, captain of the England U17 team, named as Swim England’s Breakthrough Athlete of the Year.
The Boys’ Division are regular national champions, the U18s’ team held this status every year from 2014-2022. In 2018, the School won all three (U13/U15/U18) English Schools’ National Championships for the fourth year running, having already achieved the double triple in 2003-04 when they became the first school ever to defend all three titles.
The players chosen for the Duke of Cambridge Cup were: Will Colvin, Jensen Gregoire-Parker, Yohaan Bhalme, Grace Shawcross, Harriet Kennedy, Holly Bromwell, Nico Howarth, Sianna Tamlin, Clara Logan, Liv Irvine and Olivia Ramirez Nievas.
The U16 Talent Festival players were: Freddie Wardle, Lucas Bishop, Hanisa Becic, Sonal Ladha and Zara Caswell.