Updated: Monday, 20th November 2017 @ 5:34pm

New performance director for women's water polo eyes Rio 2016 after Manchester appointment

New performance director for women's water polo eyes Rio 2016 after Manchester appointment

By Phil Jones

Rio 2016 is the goal for Great Britain’s women’s water polo team after they appointed a new national performance director today.

British Swimming appointed Graeme Thompson to the role at Manchester’s High Performance Centre after working with the water polo squads in his position as performance advisor for UK Sport.

The women’s team made their Olympic debut at London 2012, losing all six of their matches, but Thompson still sees a bright future ahead.

 “I’m looking to drive British Water Polo to be competing with the best in 2016,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity for both me and the sport – I’m really looking forward to getting started.

“The team has made very good progress in recent years and has significant potential for Rio.”

Thompson is looking to build of the experiences of 2012, including European Championship qualification for the first time in 15 years.

“I will be looking at developing aspects of the talent pathways leading to the elite team, towards making us, Great Britain, one of the most competitive water polo nations in 2016 and beyond,” he added.

The women’s side were awarded £4.5million from UK Sport for the Olympic cycle to Rio, up from £2.9million split between both men and women for London.

Under-fire British swimming CEO David Sparkes welcomed Thompson’s appointment, saying he strengthens the chances of Team GB’s women reaching Rio in four years time.

“Graeme brings a wealth of experience from UK Sport and from the Rugby Football League, where he played a strong role in driving up performance from grassroots to elite levels,” he said.

“We look forward to using his experience and leadership in the water polo programme.”

Image courtesy of BBC Sport, via YouTube, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.