We have talked to Rosie Morris, former captain of the GB Water Polo Team, about her career, the current situation of water polo in the UK and her upcoming collaboration with BIWPA, where she will conduct a master class at the Reading Summer Camp.
First of all, welcome to the BIWPA family. What do you expect from this camp?
I’m expecting a really high level camp with a real mixture of ages, abilities and levels of experience. Hopefully there will be a mix of nationalities participating, as it’s a great opportunity for kids to meet new water polo friends from all over, while making huge improvements in their game. There’s a great mix of coaches too, so it will be brilliant to be a part of the team, whilst learning and passing on my expertise as well.
You will share this experience with Ciara Gibson, with who you represent GB Team at London 2012…
It will be great to coach alongside my GB teammate and good friend Ciara, with the different perspectives and ideas we can each bring. Ciara has played in the Spanish league for many years and is one of the best left handers there is, which showed in Mataro’s recent success in the LEN Trophy, so she brings the knowledge and experience from there. I’ve played in goal for GB for over ten years, including two years as captain, so have collected plenty of international match experience (and so much training too!) in different competitions, so hope that I can bring plenty of goalkeeper-specific knowledge to the camp, and hopefully some different perspectives from the many coaches I have had over the years.
It was the first GB women’s water polo team to compete at the Olympic Games. A great achievement I guess…
Yes, it was a great achievement for our team and for everyone who had given so much to water polo in Great Britain. When we found out that London was set to host the 2012 Games, we knew there was a small chance that we would be able to go, but a lot depended on our results and on being able to prove that we could compete with the other teams. We trained unbelievably hard and were awarded a host place in the Games as a result, which was the best feeling!!
What does it mean to have been part of the Olympic Games?
The Olympic Games is what every athlete dreams of, so to play in an Olympics on home soil was even more special, with my friends and family there to support me. When I first made it on to the senior team aged 17 we used to lose to the top teams by about 20 goals (or more!), so although we didn’t get the victories we hoped for in the Olympics, we got so close to the best teams and gave them all a scare!
What is your favorite moment from your career?
My favorite moment from my career is walking out on to poolside for the first game of the Olympics in London and hearing the enormous roar of the home crowd. The noise was just incredible and I got goose bumps all over from the feeling of sheer exhilaration. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud!
How did you end up playing water polo?
I was a swimmer, and my older sister used to play water polo in the pool next to where I did my swimming training. It looked like fun, so when I stopped swimming as competitively aged about 15, I began water polo and loved it. I started playing outfield, but at GB trials when I was 17 I was asked to train to be a goalkeeper.
What do you think about the current situation of water polo in the UK?
It’s a real shame after the London 2012 Olympics, where we hoped to build a fantastic lasting legacy for water polo and help our sport grow, but instead we are now in the sad situation where water polo is completely unfunded by UK Sport and British Swimming, with no senior GB teams for men or women and nothing for young players to aspire to. I hope the situation will change, but until team sports are regarded in a higher importance, or big changes are made within the sporting organisations, water polo will stay at the amateur level that it has slipped back to.
How important do you think these camps are for the improvement of the kids?
These camps are great opportunity for the kids to really develop as water polo players. Learning in an intense water polo environment with others of similar age and ability will help them to pick up the skills they need and make huge improvements in their game, whilst also making new friends and enjoying the game.
What is your opinion about BIWPA’s project?
The BIWPA’s project is fantastic. The more kids we can encourage to play and develop as water polo players the better, and it’s great that BIWPA is bringing their venture to England this year.