WATER POLO: Grantham’s Vicky continues to make her mark

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A former Grantham girl is continuing to make her presence well known in the world of water polo.

Twenty-three-year-old Vicky Bowen goes into this weekend’s British Gas Championships in her adopted home town of Manchester on the back of non-selection for last year’s London Olympics.

The former Walton Girls’ High School student has been in the Great Britain senior water polo squad since 2007, and last year’s disappointment has only made her more determined to be selected for 2016.

Centre-forward Vicky said: “I was pretty upset, I only missed out by place. But I kind of knew beforehand.

“We have got the Worlds this year and it has made me want it more. I have started playing other positions.You stand a better chance of selection if you play two positions.”

A strong swimmer, Vicky began playing quite by chance during a day off school. Some of her friends were members of the King’s School water polo set-up and they invited her to join them at one of their sessions. The coach was impressed and asked her to come back.

She continued to train with the boys and joined the Grantham Water Polo Academy run by Jim Caulfield, at which she was able to train and compete against girls. She eventually joined the City of Sheffield all-girl team.

Vicky trains full time in Manchester and has to fit work in also to give her an income. However, women’s water polo received a boost after London 2012 with UK Sport increasing funding by 51 per cent. Vicky and her GB team-mates have struggled financially since September, but the cash injection from April will set them up nicely for the next four years.

This weekend, Vicky will be representing her club team, London Otter, who she said had a good chance of doing well at the British Championships. They take on Liverpool tomorrow, a team against whom Otter have had good results of late. Victory would give them a place in the final.

Vicky said: “We are a good team and can compete with the best.”

l Vicky Bowen is a member of the British Gas GBR Water Polo Team. This spring, British Gas is launching Swim Britain, a campaign to create a healthier nation and get more people swimming regularly by 2015. Visit www.facebook.com/BGSwimming