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Kent Water Polo lifted the Swim England Club Network of the Year award and manager Ben McDonald admitted: “It’s a great achievement.”
The network is made up of six clubs – Bexley Water Polo Club, Faversham Water Polo Club, Hythe Water Polo Club, Invicta Water Polo Club, RTW Monson Water Polo Club and Sevenoaks Water Polo Club – and is responsible for developing water polo and ensuring the future of the sport in Kent.
The group came about through a combined desire to improve the grassroots of the game in the county. Many junior squads across the county were unable to field full teams and were struggling to produce county level players.
McDonald added: “This is a great achievement for the network and credit must be given to all the clubs in Kent and all the young volunteers in the whole team that have worked towards this. Thank you and well done.”
McDonald is also the head coach of the Sevenoaks Water Polo Club and the national award by Swim England is a huge achievement for him and the club, which is part of Sevenoaks Swimming Club.
McDonald has been the head of Sevenoaks Water Polo since 2015 where they now boast 32 juniors, five of which are currently in the Kent County team. In addition, the club have also had a Sevenoaks player selected this year for the South East regional team. McDonald and his team also look at developing further links with schools in Sevenoaks.
As Manager of the Kent Water Polo Network, McDonald’s role is to share good practice across all clubs and be a point of contact. He and his team run nine different water polo tournaments each year and monthly Kent training sessions.
For the first time in 10 years SSC Water Polo held their awards. The afternoon started with a summary of the past year -
· Sevenoaks played in 8 different tournaments in 2018, the most recent a full team in the under 14 and 16 age groups
· 5 players playing for the Kent under 14 team - Joshua, Caiden, James, Thomas, Leo
· 2 players playing for Kent in both the under 16 and under 19s girls team - Chante and Leane
· 3 players playing for Kent in the over 40s - Mark, Tom H, Jonny
· Danny has contuned to play in the British Water Polo League
· 4 players have been training with the SER team - Thomas, Leo, Allegra, Josh
· Allegra has been selected to play for the SER girls under 14 team
· Chante and Leane - both attended the Young Volunteers programme
· Increased our pool time for the first time ever to 2 junior sessions a week, Big thanks goes to SSC committee and New beacon school.
Moving swiftly onto the awards, starting with the Club Awards which are for players who are 12 and under, to recognise achievement from moving from swimming to water polo.
· Water Polo Club Awards 1 - Farouk, Maxwell, Jacob, George, Jack, Lizzie, Axel and Gabriel
· Water Polo Club Awards 2 - Leo, Joshua, Thomas, Allegra
New trophy for this year for The Most Improved Junior Player of the year went to Allegra Cuomo. She has shown great commitment and continues to take every opportunity to develop and improve at water polo.
The Stuart Pettit Award – presented to the member who has made the most outstanding contribution to Sevenoaks Water Polo Club during the past year 2018 went to Leané and Chanté.
Senior captain Tom Howes gave a speech to the whole room inviting parents and the older juniors to come and give senior polo a go.
The Senior Wooden Spoon Award went to Reg.
The Seniro Player of the Year went to Johnny who was exstreamly surprise to have won the award.
It was great to see over 50 people attending. New members are always welcome to come and give water polo ago, Thanks to everyone for their support
Congratulations to Sevenoaks Water Polo members Chanté and Leané for being selected to play for Kent in the Under 19 yrs Girls team. Both girls have been attending additional training and have been working very hard. The girls will be playing against other counties in the South East Region over the weekend of the 20th and 21st January.
This continues on from Sevenoaks' water polo team's great achievement of getting 4 players into Kent teams in 2017 after many years of no players being selected.
Ben McDonald - Junior water polo coach reports "it is great to see that these girls' hard work and determination at training has paid off. They should be very proud of their achievement. It gives other Sevenoaks water polo players the motivation to train hard with the belief that they may to be selected for Kent in future months"