Perse pupil aims to make a splash after England water polo call-up

Aryan Govender (Year 9) hopes to make waves after being chosen for the England U14 water polo squad.

He is set to make his England debut at an international tournament in Spain in January after impressing selectors with his form while playing for Watford’s U16 side in the London League and his East region age group team.

On his call-up, Aryan said: “I’m really proud because it’s been four years of dedication and travelling to Watford to train after school, so I’m very excited and so are my family.”

Aryan got into water polo through his dad, who played for the South Africa national team.

He said: “We found a local club in Hitchin when I was nine and because my dad was an experienced player, he gave me tips which helped with my progress and made me a better player.

“I find water polo much more enjoyable than swimming lengths. It’s quite physical and you must be good at certain aspects, such as ball handling and hand-to-eye co-ordination, but it’s just fun to play.”

Another key skill is the ability to tread water, with players not allowed to put their feet on the floor – not that the depth of the pool makes that a possibility.

Aryan said: “In water polo terminology, it’s called the eggbeater! Each half of a match is eight minutes long and you must tread water for the whole time, so there’s always a part of training sessions dedicated to just doing that.”

As with most team sports, water polo has playing positions, with Aryan usually taking on the role of either centre-forward or left-driver – a physically-demanding job that entails getting up and down the pool quickly to support the attack and defence.

Aryan, who already trains three times a week with either the club or regional squad, will soon start attending extra sessions with the national squad in preparation for the Spain tournament.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to playing against teams from different countries. I’m hoping to progress from here and make it to the Olympics one day.”


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