The high standards achieved in South West water polo have been recognized with the appointment of the Chairman and Head Coach of the Exeter Water Polo & Swimming Club to the Great Britain youth squads coaching team.
James Baker, an Associate and employment law specialist with Michelmores Solicitors, has been an influential figure in the resurgence in popularity of the sport which many think does not get the recognition it deserves.
Under James’ stewardship, Exeter has re-emerged as one of the pre-eminent Clubs within the South West, not only winning both the Devon League in 2013 but also the South West Regional League in Divisions 1, 2 and the Youth League. Exeter also entered the British Water Polo League, equivalent of the Football League, in Division 4 in 2008 and is presently in Division 2.
Exeter is now one of the largest Water Polo clubs in the UK, with teams covering all ages from 8 upwards. The Club has a coaching team of 12 and is supported by personal trainer James Richards who also oversees fitness programmes at Michelmores’ own gymnasium.
34 year-old James said: “My new role is being part of the coaching team with the Great Britain youth squads initially working with those players who were born in or after the year 1999, with a view to developing them and providing them with the best opportunity of becoming players who will represent their country in the future.
“I am delighted and honoured with this appointment but would say that it reflects the talent and hard work of a large number of people who have been totally committed to Exeter water polo over many years.”
Water polo was the first team sport to be admitted to the Olympic Games in 1900 and the current Great Britain team are currently attempting to qualify for the forthcoming World Championships.