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MMU quartet selected for Olympics

Published: 3rd July 2012

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FOUR MMU students have been included in a Great Britain squad of 13 for the women’s waterpolo at the London Olympics.

Robyn Nicholls, Rebecca Kershaw, Fiona McCann and Angela Winstanley-Smith will make history as part of the first GB women’s team to compete in an Olympic Games.

Robyn, 22, is studying Economics and Angela reading French, while Fiona and Rebecca graduated in 2011 with a Masters in Marketing and a BA in Psychology and Education respectively.

Great Britain claimed four gold medals in men’s water polo at the early Olympic Games, but have been absent from the competition since 1956. The women’s event has only been held at the last three Games, and Team GB’s women will be making their Olympic debut in London this summer.

Double delight

The quartet, who have trained together in Manchester since 2009, are doubly delighted to be selected because no-one from MMU was left out.

“We’re all over the moon,” said Fiona. “It's fantastic to know that we got in because now we can just concentrate on performing to the best of our abilities at the games and we can't wait to represent our country with pride.”

Robyn, 22, is from Tyldesley, Manchester; Rebecca, 21, is from Morecambe, Lancashire; Fiona, 25, is from Chester, and Angela, 26, is from South Shields, Tyne & Wear.

The Olympians all train at Manchester Aquatics Centre – the GB squads base, and jointly run by the city’s universities and the council.

ManMet facilities

According to Fiona, the facilities at Manchester Met are second to none and she praised the University for being flexible about training schedules.

“We all moved to Manchester because British Waterpolo based their national performance centre in the city allowing the squad to train together full-time.

“I have been at the the high performance centre since 2004, Beckie and robyn moved here in 2008 and Angie came the following year. So MMU was the best choice for the courses we wanted to study which would fit in with our training schedule.”

Robyn, the goalkeeper, said: “I developed my interest in water polo watching my brother play when I was eight or nine.

Medal hopes

“When I started I was the only female playing in Tyldesley and I think that got everything going because they’ve got a women’s team now.”

And the girls can be hopeful of a medal having beaten have beaten some of the world leaders over the past year or so, such as Greece, Italy and Germany.

“The top teams are all so close, so we feel that we have every chance to medal.”