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Claire Nixon, Waterpolo

 

Introduction

Water Polo is team game, which can be compared to swimming, football, basketball, wrestling and ice hockey all at once! With a goal at each end, 7 team players (including goal keeper) in the water at one time, it is considered to be fast and tactical.
Claire Nixon - picture credited to SWPix com 

I started playing Water Polo aged 12, at Walsall Swimming and Water Polo Club. At 15, I had my first 2 GB competitions; the 4 nations with the u18's and the u20's European Championships (ITA) where I was the youngest team member. Following this success, I have played in my own age group's 4 nations and European Championships (UKR). Since September 2010, I have been the youngest member of the women's GB senior squad who are hoping to medal at the Olympics.

Last year I travelled daily to train fully with the seniors who are based in Manchester from home (Great Wyrley). This September, in order to be in a with a chance of making the final cut for the Olympics, I am moving to Manchester to live, train and finish off my A-levels.

 

Domestically, this year, my team (City of Manchester Water Polo Club) and I, became undefeated National League Champions, British Championships winners and my age group's national winners.


 

June's Blog
Posted:  26th June 2012

 

 

At the start of this month, I went to Recco, Italy, with the junior team. It was a good four days in which we won most of our training games with the Pro Recco Juniors. From being with the senior team whereby I’m the youngest and least experienced, it’s quite a contrast to being the most experienced outfield player in this squad.

 

The following week I was in Barcelona, with the seniors. This was our final chance to show our worth for the Olympics, to prove we deserved a chance on the team. The Italians and Spanish are both competitive and a great warm up for next month. I scored a couple of goals in the official Spanish game where we lost 8-7 and we lost 12-6 to Italy. However Spain beat Italy 14-9 so the Olympics shall be interesting!

 

This left one week until selection. One chaotic week; body testing, moving flat, going to the dogs with the team for one last outing together, a maths exam, a nutrition talk and my old sixth form’s prom. Busy, busy, busy.

 

So, now to give the disappointing news. Unfortunately I didn’t make the Olympic team. I can’t lie, I’m absolutely gutted. At the moment, I’m taking time to look at what I’ve achieved and where to go next. I’m 18 years old, and in the space of two years I’ve grown enormously: from the loss of my grandmother, moving away from home, having a 3month injury from December 2011, and trying to do my A-levels.

 

Currently, I’m on the 'Ambitions' programme where myself and 3 other aspiring athletes from my sport (2 girls, 2 boys in total) have the chance to get an inside experience of the games to better prepare and inspire us for the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as future competitions. In September, I have my last Junior European Championships, in Russia, so there’s still plenty to look forward to!

 

Now all I can say is thank you ever so much for your support.

 

To find out how the girls are get on, you can follow them on twitter:

@GB_WPolo_Girls

 


 

May's Blog...
Posted: 18th May 2012   

 

Going to the London test event at the start of the month was an amazing experience. The pool was extremely cold but that doesn’t matter when you’ve got a 4,000 strong crowd cheering and supporting you. 

 

It was a great week, and we stayed in the Ibis hotel with the other three teams; Hungary, USA and Australia. There were even some international boxers there training before the Olympics. The team had some good games, one which we lost by one goal to USA – Beijing’s silver medallists. The support of the crowd was immense, never before have I seen so many people cheering us on – I can’t wait until the Olympics now! At the same time, the park also had the test events for Hockey and the Athletics, so there was media everywhere which made our dolls (created by team mate Chloe Wilcox’s Mom) famous. I would also like to thank the volunteers for being invaluable at the event!

 

Greece World League Hat no. 7

Greece World League Hat no. 7

Greece World League Volos May '12

 Greece World League Volos May '12

 

At the event the Olympic group draws were announced:


 

Men

Women

Group A

Group B

Group A

Group B

Greece

Hungary

Hungary

Italy

Italy

Montenegro

Spain

Australia

Kazakhstan

Romania

China

Russia

Spain

Great Britain

USA

Great Britain

Australia

USA

 

 

Croatia

Serbia

 

 


Next stop, Volos, Greece for World League. Here we played Holland, Russia and Greece. I played, but unfortunately we lost by one to every team! Greece beat Russia, and Holland beat Greece so you can see it was all to play for! (In the actual Olympics it may even be as close as the winner having lost to 8th position in the group games by one.) We didn’t make it to the super finals in China, but we are improving so much. This time last year we were losing to Russia by 5 goals, this year we were drawing with a minute to go. After all the games, 10 in 10 days and in Greece 6 in 60 hours, we had a chance to relax for a couple of hours at the beach.

 

Now after a couple of days rest we’re into the last block before selction on the 25th June and the Olympics. With exams next week it’s going to be a nerve-wrecking month!

Water Polo Arena

London's Olympic Park Water Polo Arena


To see more pictures, updates and to support the team and I follow us on:

Twitter: @GB_WPolo_Girls    @ClaireNixon93

Or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/GBWomensWaterPolo

  



April's Blog...
Posted:  25 April 2012

 

The past couple of months have been extremely busy with college and training.

Unfortunately, we finished our LEN Champions Cup run in the quarter-finals, as due to illness (including myself) we only had 10 players instead of the usual 13. It was very frustrating as we would have a fair chance of winning and had some competitive games.

We’ve had a big block at home to train before we start travelling again. During this time it’s been hectic; body-testing, swim testing, leg strength testing and gym testing readying for selection.

The Olympic qualification tournament was this month, meaning that we now know the final teams who we will be competing against in the summer. There will be Hungary, Italy, China, Australia, USA, Spain, Russia, and GB. During this tournament Olympic champions Holland, and world champions Greece, didn’t qualify. It really shows that the competition is close and for anyone going to watch water polo, they are in for some exciting matches!

The Olympic test event is at the start of May and 4 days later is the 2 rounds of World League in Greece. This is the last chance before selection for the Olympics (end of June) to show what we’ve got, so the whole team is being rotated between the two. The team has been announced, and unfortunately I will not be playing in London. However, I’ll be going to Greece, where we’ll be playing 6 games in four days!

I can’t wait to see the Water Polo arena; despite not playing the official games there, the team is training for a couple of days before hand. It will be amazing to play and train in the pool before the Olympics.

The month’s going to end in two exams for me, so it’s going to yet another busy month!

More information of the Test Event can be found on: http://www.londonpreparesseries.com/waterpolo/index.html

 


 

February's Blog...

Posted:  20 February 2012

 

I’m delighted to announce that City of Manchester have not only become this season’s national league winners for the second year running but we also, consecutively won the British Championships!


Our national league table was pretty close at the top! (See www.bwpl.org for more information).

 

Team

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pts

GD

*City of Manchester

8

7

0

1

73

35

14

+38

Liverpool Lizards

8

7

0

1

91

45

14

+46

London Otter

8

3

1

4

60

76

7

-16

West London Penguin

8

1

1

6

50

69

3

-19

Coventry

8

1

0

7

48

97

2

-49


The final weekend was played down in Cardiff with us beating Coventry 10-4. It wasn’t as plain sailing as last year though. We won on goal difference with Liverpool having the same points and a bigger goal difference overall however rules say that we won as our goal difference against Liverpool was greater thus making us the winners!! One of our national league weekends in Manchester, was videoed by Sky Sports, unfortunately I couldn’t play that weekend but if you want to see what all the excitement is about then it’s on:

  • 5th March – Sky Sports 2 – 6pm & 9pm
  • 6th March – Sky Sports 3 – 9am
                  - Sky Sports 4 – 9 am & 3pm

It’s been a fantastic season for the City of Manchester women, and I hope this follows through to the year!


With GB, this month we’ve been put onto something called ‘My Adams’ where we can be drug tested any single day, having to give an hour of your whereabouts, when/where you’re training, and where you’re sleeping that night. Although some may think it’s a bit tedious, it’s great to say that I’m ‘100% Me’ and that everything is from grit and determination.

 

You can follow Claire on Twitter: @ClaireNixon93



 

January's Blog...
Posted:  25 January 2012

 

This month the GB team competed in their first European Championships for 15 years. After three tough group games, the team went on to beat Germany and finish seventh overall.

 

Despite being out injured for a while I have been able to focus on other areas of my game and I have also had time to do some serious revision for my upcoming exams.

 

My league club, Manchester, had a great month beating fierce rivals Liverpool and are now back on track, to hopefully retain our national league title.


December's Blog...
Posted: 15 December 2011

 

After our tough games in France, we are back into heavy training - heavy in the gym, hard swim and leg sets in the pool. Having a block at home to train before 2012 is great to really push your endurance and is a great chance to work through new and old tactics that we will need in January for our European Championships in Holland and for our next round of the LEN Champions Cup in February.

 

We’ve started wrestling as part of our land work, which is helping us hold and break the grip of the other teams. It’s fun, although you do need a lot of co-ordination to do it!

 

At national league this weekend, we played London Otter and Liverpool in Loughborough. Both games were competitive with only a couple of goals separating the winning and losing teams.


This year has been my most challenging yet but I’m looking forward to this new one where my hard work should pay off.

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!  

 


 

November's Blog...
Posted:  21 November 2011


Unfortunately, I’ve had the first week off this month due to illness, however this bleak note was cheered up by the fact I turned 18 not too long after and of the announcement that the Olympic torch is going through my home village of Great Wyrley – it’s nice that we're going to be put on the map!


Last week my water polo club, called City of Manchester, went to the first of LEN Champions Cup where we played Spanish, Italian, German, Russian and French Teams. We won two of the five, which carries us through to the next round of home and away games vs. Orizzonte Catania, Italy.  Despite having such dreary weather conditions in France, it was a great round full of competitive matches.  



October's Blog...
Posted by: Claire Nixon on Fri 21 October 2011 

 

Our national league season has now started, my team, Manchester, has played four matches, winning; three and losing one, to our main rivals Liverpool. This coming weekend we travel to Watford for another three matches against Sheffield, Leeds Sharks and London Otter.

 

GB beat the Ukraine 21-8 in the penultimate European championship qualifier. I have since travelled to Israel to play in the final qualifier. Despite the weariness from travelling we won this game 21-3! I also scored my first senior goal which was the first of seven that evening. The team played really well and winning the game meant we qualified for the European championships in Holland, 2012 for the first time in fifteen years.

 


 

September's Blog...
Posted by: Claire Nixon - Fri 23 September 2011

 

It's been a busy month so far! After a week's rest, it was back to hard training for a week, then a week's preparations for the Four Nation tournament in Manchester that coming weekend. To make the week even more chaotic, I moved in to student halls in Manchester.

 

The four nations involved were: GB, China, Canada and Germany and it was my senior debut international competition. Senior games are a lot quicker, more physical and organised compared to junior level so for my first game to be against China (currently 2nd in the world!) was terrific. It's been exciting to be part of the team that came 3rd at our first home four nations. (Canada - 1st, China - 2nd, GB - 3rd and Germany 4th).

This week the girls have been focussing on the GB vs. Ukraine game on Saturday whereas the three juniors, including myself, have our first weekend of National league.

 



August's blog...
Posted by Claire Nixon - 24 August 2011

 

This month I have had no competitions, as I was illegible to play at the World University Games, China, as I am too young to compete and have not been doing/done a university degree. As only 13 go to competition and there is 20 in the squad, I have been training with the remaining squad members and sometimes the GB senior men's team. At the end of this August month we have a weeks holiday recuperating before the hard slog before the Olympics.

 



 
 
 
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