THE water polo section at the City of Hereford Swimming Club is causing something of a splash with players travelling across the UK and Europe to compete.

Last month, Alun Rickards was selected to play for the Welsh Men's Senior squad in the EU Nations tournament in Malta.

Rickards, a student at Hereford Sixth Form College, only started playing just over three years ago and is the club's first senior international player.

The Welsh team had a tough draw, losing their opening clash against tournament favourites South Africa. But they continued to improve despite losses to Ireland and Austria. In their final game, however, they snatched a last gasp victory against Lithuania.

"Flying out to Malta for the senior men's EU nations has made me realise how much I enjoy water polo but also how I like meeting new challenges," said Rickards.

"We had to face faster, stronger and just generally bigger teams.

"This inspired me to work harder and had made me realise I am closer to making it than I originally thought. It was amazing to play in an outdoor pool in such amazing weather. When I got a phone call about playing, I had loads of things going through my mind like; would I fit in, would I get much game time?

"I was worried I would not enjoy being with all the seniors but they made me feel like I was very much a part of the team.

"During games, I didn't feel out of place or out of the level and I think that is due to the help and support we were given in training and before games preparing the juniors for the step up to seniors."

Three weeks later, fellow member Millie Boucher was selected to play for the Welsh Senior Ladies in the EU Nations Tournament and will be flying out to Prague at the end of the month.

Coach David Cash said: "What all of the players have achieved in such a short period of time is remarkable.

"I am very proud of them and all of the other players in the section who continue to represent Hereford and Worcester in the Midlands Water Polo League."

Any nine to 13-year-old's who can swim 100 metres is welcome to join. Sessions take place at Hereford Leisure Pool from 9am - 10am each Saturday.

Anyone interested should contact