“”‘Tour is go!’ – Ben Walker” – Péter Juhasz” – Rhys Goodall
On the 8th of January, miraculously, every UK-based member of the men’s and women’s water polo team met at Stansted Airport for the two hour flight to Budapest. Full from the weeks of break and holiday-ing, the teams were ready to dive into training, but on the first evening they most definitely were not ready for the -15 weather that Budapest had to offer.
Despite the cold, the teams bundled up every morning and made the short walk to the BVSC Zuglo Training Facilities. The facilities boasted at least three indoor, double deep pools and additional kiddie and outdoor pools, a nice contrast to the BUCS regulation non-compliant Ley’s pool. For two and a half hours every morning that week, the teams claimed the 50m pool, rebuilding their strength and stamina, and working on basic drills and new techniques away from the distractions of the usual Cambridge term. Rob Gourley, men’s co-captain this year, accurately surmised “not only was tour this year essential for working on tactics in the water for the team, but also for team bonding, with social events occurring most nights.”
In true water sport style, every non-training and non-eating activity was still on water. From an afternoon at Aquaworld Water Park, filled with heart-stopping slides and traditional saunas, to a ‘rest-morning’ of skating – the teams couldn’t escape water, in whatever form it came. And as we adapted to the cold (in reality the temperature just rose) the streets of Budapest become home to the usual water polo tour antics; TJ’s carrying hats and following friends, while Péter and Balint kept us from getting too bewildered and lost.
In the afternoons, with the help of Péter, matches against the local teams were arranged. The men and women were in the water for an hour and a half each, learning what it meant to play against teenagers who’d been trained for water polo from infancy. Half of the women’s team had only taken up the sport in October, and their growth and development throughout tour was incredible. By the last matches, which the British Ambassador to Hungary came to watch, everyone was a lot more confident. Though we didn’t keep score, the men’s team may have even won their match.
After a wonderful farewell dinner, and a few new fines, the teams were ready to return to the pleasant Cambridge weather, ready to play 8 matches within the next three weeks, and, most importantly, ready for Varsity 2017! #GDBO
“Here’s to tour 2018!” – Rob Gourley