A WATER polo player is hoping to represent her country in the World Championships in August.
Courtney Dean, who studies A2 PE at Priestley College, is already working with national coaches in Manchester and is aiming to make the squad for the U20s in the international competition.
“That’s definitely my short term goal,” she said.
Courtney, 18, is already training before and after college most days to maintain her level and position in the sport.
Her passion for water polo started by accident after her brother, Conor, asked her to fill in at Warrington Swimming Club when she was just eight.
Coaches spotted the keen swimmer’s talent and by 11 she had made the regional squad and was playing in Manchester.
“I enjoyed swimming, but I am more of a team player so it really suited me,” said Courtney.
Since the London Olympics water polo has received more funding and is becoming a more disciplined and professional sport.
A team of 20 players is expected to be selected to train full-time and be paid for their efforts.
For Courtney the goal is to follow in the footsteps of her idol – Warrington’s Hazel Musgrove who trained with Courtney’s coach Alan Boyle – and keep her place on the senior development team.
She has already competed in World and European championships across Europe, including in Russia where she experienced celebrity status.
“We were treated like we were famous there because it is one of their main sports,” said Courtney.
“Everybody was asking for our autographs and a camera crew was following my mum around. At one point we even had security looking after us.”
Nigel Howells, Head of Sport at Priestley College, said: “It is great to hear about Courtney’s success, which is well deserved given her dedication to the sport.”