By Audrey Tala
I was given the chance to go to Eger, Hungary with the England 2004 National Academy squad, from 16-23 August 2019. The day we flew to Hungary we ended up arriving at the hotel at 11:30pm so we quickly went to our rooms to unpack, settle in and go to bed. Thankfully the coaches were kind enough to give a lie in the next morning (with breakfast at 9:30am) so we all managed to get a good night’s sleep.
The next day, we took the 15-minute walk through the quaint town of Eger to the training pool which was outdoors in a holiday leisure complex. Here we did a strength and conditioning training session with GB rugby player Paige Costello (who was also our nutritionist as well as gym instructor for the week), before jumping in the pool for a 2½ hr training session. After we had finished and changed we walked to the restaurant where we would eat lunch and dinner every day (mostly just chicken and rice/pasta for seven days straight).
Following lunch, we were allowed an hour of free time to explore the town. Then we had to be back promptly at the hotel for ‘feet up’ time – a compulsory hour of just lying in bed either sleeping or relaxing so we would all be recharged for the evening training session.
The next two days were more or less the same routine, however we started to have more tactical and technical training sessions in line with how European water polo is played.
The last four days of the camp were tournament days at the tournament pool, which was an amazing natural spring water facility with rocks instead of tiled floor in one half of the 50m pool. From breakfast to dinner we were either watching matches being played, cheering on the boys’ team or playing games ourselves. These were, to say the least, the most tiring days of the whole trip.
Overall my team placed fifth in the tournament, with the GB 2003 girls coming 1st as part of their preparation for the European tournament they will play in September.
The trip was fantastic, and it was great for bonding better as a team and finding out how water polo is played in other European countries (in addition to getting a great tan!).
Thank you to all the staff with us, including coaches Chris Motely and Simon Tomlinson, and team manager Michelle Crossley.