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GB selection for Tameside youngsters
Wednesday 15th February 2017 @ 15:51 by Mark Phillip

Two Tameside youngsters have been selected to represent Great Britain at the World Underwater Hockey Championships in Hobart, Tasmania, later this year.

Harry Thompson and George Lythe, who attend West Hill School and Audenshaw School respectively, are two of 12 team members to have been selected from approximately 100 players across the country.

Harry Thompson

Although the pair are 16 and 15 respectively, they will actually be representing the Under 19 squad at the event which is being held at the Doone Kennedy Aquatic Centre from Friday, July 14-22.

Harry and George, who both compete for Xarifa Underwater Hockey Club in Hyde, are excited to be part of such a big tournament but insist their selection to the squad is the culmination of two years’ hard work.

Speaking to Reporter Sport, Harry said: “I was first introduced to the sport through my dad when I was six years old and have never looked back since.

“As an underwater hockey coach, he was involved with one of the local clubs so took me down to try it out and I loved it.”

Former classmates in primary school, Harry invited George to try the sport and the pair have been making a splash for a good number of years. George said: “I was invited by Harry to try the sport and he said it was really good, so I trusted his judgement, attended a session and loved it.”

Harry (left) and George Lythe

What was once a recreational activity for the pair has turned into something of an addiction, as both Harry and George train frequently throughout the week to make sure they’re in tip-top condition.

On Sunday, Harry trains with the Xarifa junior team at Medlock Sports Centre before taking the plunge 24 hours later at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

Tuesday evenings are devoted to training with the Xarifa adult team and higher level athletes, such as the GB squad, before finishing the pool work on Thursday night with a second session at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.

The intense training regime is complimented with hours of gym work, where both Harry and George are put through their paces both physically and mentally.

Harry and George take the plunge

Detailing what they have to do, George said: “we’re all following a periodization training programme at the moment, which is basically a sheet that states what exercises and training we need to do on each day.

“We use a device called MyZone which measures our heart rate at the gym, and each day we have to do a set amount of cardio.

“For example, on Sunday, we’ll have to do 85% for a certain period, and then another day we’ll have to do 60%.”

Training regimes aside, the pair are in the best possible hands under the guidance of esteemed coaches Richard Adams, Iain Tait and Harry’s father, Phil Thompson.

The latter has years of valuable experience to his name, having competed for Great Britain himself on numerous occasions.

During his first GB outing in 2010, Phil returned from Hungary with a bronze medal.

He also returned from South Africa last year with a silver medal – a feat he’s extremely proud of. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed representing Great Britain for the past seven years.

“It’s afforded me the opportunity to travel to different parts of the world, while collecting medals in the process.

“I’m hoping Harry and George will like it just as much as I do – it’s a fantastic sport which deserves recognition.”
Unfortunately, UK Sport does not provide any funding towards GB underwater hockey and therefore all costs incurred on the trip are self-funded.

The cost of the trip to Tasmania will be approximately £3,500, which doesn’t include training camps leading up to the tournament which require hotels and travel.

Those wishing to help Harry and George raise funds for the trip can do so at the following JustGiving pages: