Halifax Swimming Club’s water polo player of the year, 15-year-old Matthew Bottomley, has been selected to represent Team GB in a tournament in Hungary and Croatia in July and August this year.
The tour will take in two international tournaments at both Szentes Water Polo Club and Eger Water Polo Club, Hungary’s two largest clubs.
Bottomley started playing water polo at Halifax Swimming Club at the age of 10, representing the Halifax under 14s when only 11.
He attended regional training squads in Sheffield after being recommended by Mark Sutcliffe, head coach at Halifax.
From this squad, he was selected to attend Great Britain under-14 trials in January 2014. Held in Cardiff, over 160 boys attended the trials over a two-day period.
Bottomley qualified for the final Great Britain squad of 30, who have since been attending monthly training sessions at Cardiff.
In August 2014, he was invited to attend a week’s National Water Polo training camp at Millfield School in Somerset with the Great Britain squad. He was coached by the men’s Great Britain coach and also watched a number of the Great Britain men in training.
Following the success and determination shown at Millfield, Bottomley was selected for the North East England Under-15’s team, which took part in a premier water polo tournament in Andorra, giving Bottomley his first international experience.
The team had victories over Italy, Spain and Scotland, and gained great experience from playing teams from Hungary and Croatia, the top two teams in the world.
Bottomley then trained with Sedgefield Water Polo Club, who he went on to play for in the National under-15’s championships held in October.
This involved many trips to Durham and also a number of practice matches around the country.
The team won all four of their group matches, beating teams from Caledonia in Scotland, Invicta from London, Cheltenham and Sutton and Cheam.
Sedgefield made it to the finals to face Sheffield, coming out on top to become the British Gas National Age Group Champions.
Bottomley continues to represent Halifax Water Polo Club at Under-16s level. He trains four nights a week. He is also training with Sedgefield at weekends for the ASA Under-16 water polo championships which are being held in March/April this year.