After hating the water as a child, things have gone from one extreme to another for Edge Hill student, Addison Brown, who has now been selected to join the senior England Water Polo squad.
After travelling round the world with his fiancé for a year, Addison, aged 24 from Stoke-on-Trent, devotes hours to training for water polo each week alongside studying for a PGCE in Secondary Science.
“I have always been a swimmer, I used to hate the water as a kid but my parents were keen for me to learn to swim from an early age. I eventually got better at it and was advised to join my local club to pass a lifeguarding certificate, and from then until I was 16 I swam competitively, winning regional medals.
“When I joined Biddulph Amateur Swimming Club they had a water polo session run by Alan Campbell and Geoff Kirkham; this is where I started playing polo and loved it. I then trialled at the Regional Training Camp in Manchester where I was accepted and trained with the best in the region.
“It just seemed so different to any other sport I’d played and I read somewhere that it was voted the hardest sport in the world, needing strength, stamina, swimming ability, co-ordination, agility and speed.”
Addison was always on the verge of making the national team at junior ages, but never quite made it due to lack of experience, so when he was given the chance to trial for the senior England Water Polo squad in January this year, he jumped at the chance.
“I couldn’t believe it when I made the squad and was picked for our first friendly against Scotland. I then had the opportunity to go to Poland to compete in the EU nations and I finally got my first cap for my country. A lot of the lads on the team had competed for GB or England multiple times at junior level and for all of us it was our first senior call up so we were nervous at the thought of playing against senior men from Europe and South Africa.
“Poland was amazing. I think having a young team really helps the dynamic as there is a lot of energy and excitement within the group. As for the games, we gave ourselves a target of reaching the top three. We beat Portugal and Lithuania to reach the top four play offs. We had to play an experienced South African side who compete regularly at world champs, Malta, last year’s champions, and the home team Poland. In the end we lost narrowly in both games, but we drew against Poland and came third overall. Every game we played better and better as a team and some of our individual performances were great too.”
Addison’s next stop is Chinese Taipei in August where he will hopefully be selected to compete in the 2017 World Student Games. He is due to finish university in June, and has already managed to secure a job teaching science at Bedford High School in Leigh.
Click here for more information about studying for a PGCE at Edge Hill University.