Latest News

Head Coach, Nick Buller, reflects on success at the 2024 European Championships and plots the future of GB women’s water polo -

Great Britain’s Head Coach, Nick Buller, spoke with us after the extraordinary performance of the Great Britain women’s team at the 2024 European Championships in Eindhoven.

“Reflecting on our final game of these European Championships, I have to say how very proud I am of the players. We talked at the beginning of this tournament that they would experience a sticky patch somewhere along the journey. We didn’t know when it would happen but the big question for us was how we would react. So, in the third quarter of this match when the Croatians overturned our lead and then went ahead, the girls stayed calm, stuck to the processes and we rode out the storm, won the match and secured 7th place in the European Championships plus we qualified for the World Championships to top it off. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Great Britain’s women with their ticket to the World Championships!

As I have said before, my vision for this squad of players is to provide opportunities for them, to play in European competitions and for them, individually and collectively, to progress in the sport.

As a group we are comfortably ahead of our performance schedule for sure. We have come back into this tournament after a decade in the wilderness and played seven matches, won five against Slovakia, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel and Croatia, and lost only two; one against the current World Champions the Netherlands, and the other against the Olympic bronze medallists Hungary.

Having said that, the elite sides in Europe are significantly better than we are and we’ve got a lot to learn from them. I believe that we can move on but we now need the girls to have funding, so they’re not always personally financing to such a great extent these competitions, and therefore ensuring that they can regularly attend them.

I think if you surveyed all the teams here, we’re the only team where there has to be a private financial contribution by all the players and it’s a significant amount of money.

We respect and really appreciate the support we’re receiving from the national governing body and from UK Sport, but 10 years ago on the back of significant funding Great Britain’s women came 8th in this competition. Now, with such a relatively small amount of financial support we have come 7th and we’re asking, and hoping, that they will now respect our achievement with additional financial support in return.

Back in 2014 Great Britain water polo lost its financial support because performance objectives were not met. The performance objective for today’s GB women in this quadrennial period was to reach the top 12. That was in fact considered a stretch goal. We’ve massively exceeded that and we’ve beaten professional countries, whose clubs pay their players and with national federations which pay their players. We are unquestionably punching above our weight. This is a super group, let’s support them. Let us let them go further now.

We see 7th position here and qualification for the World Championships as a starting point. Yes, we’ve come an historic seventh place and we’re happy with that for this Championship, but we want to be pushing for the medals in the future but that’s in two or perhaps four years more realistically, and the key to making that much bigger step is experience, experience, experience.

For most of our players this was their first ever major championship, if you look at, for example, the Croation team that we have just beaten, their average European Championship experience was probably 3+.

If we can go to the World Championships in a few weeks’ time, it will be amazing, but we appreciate that it is by no means certain that we will be able to attend, and we just hope that it will be possible. We will in any event continue along our path looking for future opportunities, and whatever happens we’re going to take this team forward.

Thank you to all the families and friends who have supported the team throughout, and for the massive support from the GB polo community back home, we couldn’t have achieved anything without you.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.