SWIMMING CLUB REPORT 2017 Water Polo is now a 12-month sport although divided into two seasons, winter and summer. Our five teams compete in different Leagues, dependent on the time of year. There are two league teams dedicated to younger age groups, U18 and U16, although an U14 team exists playing friendlies, for the development of our future stars. League results: • U16s finished 4th out of six teams last season • B team finished 5th out of six teams in Division 3 • A team finished 6th out of eight teams, retaining their Division 1 status • Warwickshire Senior and Junior, Wrekin Winter and U18 leagues are still in progress. The A team reached the final of the Warwickshire Knock-out tournament for the first time in the club’s history, ultimately losing to Solihull in the final. They also reached the semi-final of the Handicap Knock-out cup, eventually losing to South Derbyshire. As ever, our first big thank you goes to Richard Brough, our Hon. Water Polo Secretary, for all his work for us over the last year. Without him, there would be no teams, no matches, no polo really. We are greatly indebted to him for all the jobs he does for the club, which amount to far more than probably any of us realises, because he’s not one to blow his own trumpet, he just gets on with the job. A million thanks from all of us, Richard. Richard was nominated by the Club for the prestigious award “Unsung Hero”; he progressed to the West Midlands Final, when he and the Club featured on BBC TV’s Midlands Today programme, before finishing as runner-up at the Awards Night, held at Villa Park. The photo shows Richard and some of his supporters. The annual Race Night on 13th October was very well attended, and once again seamlessly co-ordinated by Dianne Charles. Thirty races were hotly contested, mostly divided into age groups, with medals for all victors and even trophies for some of the events. The School and U18s beat the Old Boys in the annual relay race in October although the Old Boys were victorious in the polo match. The Annual Fun Match was also held in October and was much enjoyed as always, and somehow ended in yet another draw under the supervision of our annual (and completely impartial) referee, Chris Greenhill. It’s a great opportunity for players of all ages to get into the water together and enjoy the fun. The Annual Awards and Social evening took place on 25th November at the Old Boys’ Club House with a very good turn-out of members and a great evening was enjoyed by all. During the evening, trophies and badges were presented to all the race night winners providing a fitting stage to celebrate their success. Some extra special awards were also given out: The Allison trophy for the most improved swimmer was awarded to Jessica Hooper. The most improved U16 water polo player trophy went to Daniele Reka. Players’ player of the year awards went to: • Marcelo Reka for the U18s • Alun Rickards and Ken Gower for the B team • Alun Rickards for the A team The Richard Brough trophy was awarded to Cathy Chesworth, who is a great supporter of the club, travelling long distances to get to matches, and always cheerfully willing to help with table or whatever else needs doing. Special congratulations were given to Alan Rickards who was selected as a full Welsh international player during the year. On our return to the pool, after all the over- indulgence of Christmas and New Year, on 5 January for the under v over 21’s annual fixture, in which the U21’s were victorious, after a terrific recovery in the final few minutes. Congratulations to our younger players – hopefully this bodes well for future league results. Philip Swann ensured we were fed afterwards, back at the club house for our traditional fish & chip supper. It was great to see so many members join us. Teaching swimming is an important part of our role as a swimming club. On Fridays we use two pools at Handsworth Leisure Centre, with three classes for children of five years and upwards. They learn how to swim before progressing into the deep water pool, where training occurs, becoming ever more polo-related the faster and more skilled swimmers become. A further polo session takes place on Tuesdays. Anyone wishing to join the Swimming Club please contact Ms Dianne Charles – dianne.charles@tesco.net The Club is proud to announce its Centenary will take place in 2019, with events and celebrations for all to enjoy. 39