Welcome to Water Polo

What is Water Polo


With Goals at each end, the winning team is the one who scores the most goals by scoring between the posts. During the game players must tread water and are not allowed to touch the floor.

Starting with a team at each end of the pool, the ball is released into the middle of the pool and players race to gain possession. One a goal is scored the teams return to the starting position ready to race off for the ball once more.

Teams consist of 13 players with 6 outfield players and one goalkeeper in the pool at one time. The match is divided into four quarters of eight minutes; however, as the clock is stopped when the ball out of play, a quarter can last around 12 minutes.

Water polo can be introduced to young players through Mini Polo and is a fantastic sport to play with young people.

Joining a Swim England North West Water Polo club is the first step towards being selected for the Swim England Talent Squads and allows you to compete in local, Regional and National competitions. Swim England North West are one of the leading regions in England for Water Polo

Find a Water Polo club near you click here!


Water Polo in the North West


The Regional Water Polo Management Group (WPMG). The WPMG meet quarterly to ensure that all aspects of Water Polo are provided with development opportunities and competitions throughout the year.

Role                                                                                       Post Holder

SENW – Regional Water Polo Manager –                     Luke Brown

Board Liaison & SENW Office Manager –                     Diane Stafford

Regional Club Coordinator –                                          Dean Summer

Competition Lead                                                             Vacant Register interest

Coaching Lead                                                                   Vacant Register interest

Volunteering Lead                                                            Vacant Register interest

Widening Participation Lead                                          Vacant Register interest

Boys’ Talent Pathway / Inter Region Lead                   Lorna McMillan

Girls’ Talent Pathway / Inter Region Lead –                Joanne Mountfield

Officials Coordinator & Referee Development –       Mike Hesketh

Cheshire Representative –                                              John Hamilton

Cumbria Representative –                                               Luke Brown

Lancashire Representative –                                           Nicola Holt




Player development with England Water Polo Talent


Three levels of the Talent Programme

  1. Regional Academy Programme

Swim England North West along with the other regions run training sessions for their top U14, u15 & U16 male and female players, who complete head to head in an Inter Regional Competition.

Regional Academies players will work towards England Water Polo Talent Centre Standards. The Head coaches of the Regional programme will assess players against this criteria and nominate players to the next step on the pathway.

The U14 & U16 Inter Regional Championships will be used as an additional talent identification opportunity for National Academy Coaches to select from, to ensure no potential talent is missed.


  1. National Talent Centre Programme

There are 4 Talent Centres geographically placed across England designed to provide young talented players with weekly access to coaches with a high level of international experience.

Selection to a talent centre will be through open trials or subsequent Talent Identification by England Talent Water Polo Coaches at national and regional events.

Players at an England Talent Centre can expect to receive high quality coaching in the skills and tactical foundations they will require to thrive at national team level across 3 x 10 week terms each year.

The talent centre based in the North West is based in Bolton. More information about the talent centre can be found here

Talent Games

Three times a year, teams from each of the Talent Centres will be selected to represent their Centre at ‘The Talent Games’ (link https://www.swimming.org/waterpolo/inaugural-water-polo-talent-games/). Teams will be selected from Each Talent Centre at U14 and U16. A weekend of full length matches played to LEN competition standards for that age group, and will provide players with experience of competing at an elite level whilst the programme of player and coach education will equip players with a tool kit of practical and psychological skills that they will need to succeed as a national team player in the future.



  1. National Squad Programme

The national squads are the top level of the talent pathway in England. U17, U19 and senior national squads train every month and work towards competing at European and international competitions.

To be selected in a national squad, athletes must be either recommended by their regional coach or be scouted by talent coaches at The Talent Games or other National club or Regional Events. When they attend the trials, they will be selected on a number of physiological, technical, psychological and tactical factors, as well as other elements such as compatibility and work ethic.

Athletes and their coaches should have a clear understanding about the commitment required to be part of the national team and the expectations, travel and time required before considering attending the trials.

It is advantageous for the athletes to be known to the national programme staff by taking part in the Talent Games as part of the Talent Centre Programme or other competitions regionally and nationally. Athletes should be competitive and striving for the top level within the sport.

If you become a member of one of the Swim England Water Polo squads, you will continue to work with your home club programme and club coach. It is important for your club coaches to be engaged in your development and the training hours and requirements once you are part of the programme. All training is compulsory and is a mixture of camps and weekends. You can also continue to be a part of your Region. All training is compulsory and is a mixture of camps and weekends. You can also continue to be a part of your Region.


Click here to view the Water Polo Competition Calendar 


Water Polo Results can be found here.

North West England Water Polo Successes

North West Payers on the world stage for Great Britain in Doha

3 players from North West clubs were part of the GB team who competed in the World Championships in Doha.  Great to see GB back on the world stage and securing a win against Olympics bound South Africa.  This is following on from their highest ever finish in European Championships placing 7th

U18s U19s

During February half term the North West had representation in both the U18s and U19s women’s squads.  3 North West athletes joined the U18s for a high intensity training camp in Barcelona as part of their preparation towards the European U18 Championships in 2025.  Meanwhile 7 North West athletes were part of the U19s squad who had a training and games in Zeist, Netherlands in preparation for their European Championships later this year in Zagreb, Croatia.

There was bronze medal success for the GB U19s at the Senior Women’s EU Nations Cup with 6 athletes from the North West part of that team.

The regional clubs were proving successful with the U19 girls National Age Group competition won by City of Manchester and City of Liverpool taking the bronze.


The North West had 5 athletes as part of the women’s U17 GB squad who attended the U17 European championships in Turkey.  The North West boys had 5 representatives in the U17s squad for the European qualifiers in Malta.


There was double success in the U15s National Age Group competitions with City of Manchester lifting the boys title and City of Liverpool repeating the feat in the girls competition, becoming U15 champions for first time.


There was double success for the North West in the inter-regional competition with North West Tigers taking the boys U14 title and North West Thunder securing the girls title.

Talent Centre Games

The last year saw the introduction of the Talent games as part of the Swim England Talent Pathway.  The inaugural event was held in July with the North West taking the title of Talent Games winners in both the U6 and U14 age group

The second iteration of this was the winter festival for U16s and ESSA Duke of Cambridge Cup for U14s.  Both were played with teams from the talent centre areas mixed to allow players to develop skills of working with players less familiar to themselves.  The North West players gave an excellent account of themselves in both competitions



Water polo is thriving in the North West from the seniors down to our U14 athletes giving us a bright hope for the future

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