Olympian Craig Figes will bring his passion and expertise to his new role with Swim England in what is an ‘exciting time for water polo’.
The Team GB men’s water polo team captain for the London 2012 Olympics joins the national governing body as the Water Polo Programme Lead for Great Britain.
He will be the technical expert for water polo, advising Swim England, British Swimming and the home nations.
Other aspects of the role include managing the technical framework for water polo performance and talent pathways, as well as leading and managing the performance squads.
The 43-year-old, who was previously part of the Swim England Water Polo Leadership Group, explained that he is ‘very excited’ to get started and work towards his aim of making ‘GB more competitive on the international stage’.
Unique position to help the next generation
Figes said: “I am very excited to be starting this new role. I have always been extremely passionate about water polo as a sport and especially the development of British water polo.
“I was lucky enough to play professionally for many years in Europe and beyond and had the honour of representing Great Britain for more than 20 years, including captaining the men’s team at the 2012 Olympic Games.
“Playing and coaching water polo at the highest level was, and still is, an amazing experience and journey. I feel that I am in a unique position to help the next generation of water polo players on their journeys in the sport.
“The longer-term aim is of course to make GB more competitive on the international stage, helping our athletes to return to European Championships and world stage events.
“I am looking forward to working with and supporting our athletes, coaches and volunteers, those who are already on the programmes and helping the development of new athletes, coaches and volunteers who want step up to the representative level.
Exciting time for water polo
“Water polo is an extremely tough sport and to be successful takes a lot of hard work. I see a key part of my role as providing the structure and education that enables the athletes and coaches to become successful and reach their own goals.”
Rachel Bayley, Swim England head of performance operations, says she is ‘thrilled’ to welcome Figes into the team.
She said: “After a rigorous recruitment process, I am thrilled to be welcoming Craig to the Great Britain Water Polo High Performance Programme.
“He joins Swim England at an exciting time for water polo, which has seen new investment from UK Sport, allowing us to push on to the next level.
“Craig comes with a huge amount of experience in the sport and his credentials speak for themselves.
“We have challenges ahead as we still navigate our way out of a pandemic, returning to international competition in the coming weeks, with more throughout the year.”