HUCKNALL’S Sean Ryder (pictured) did not enjoy a happy Monday as Team GB’s water polo competition came to an end, but maintains the experience has been invaluable for the fledgling team.
The last time GB’s men took to the Olympic stage was in 1956 and this year’s campaign came to an end on Monday night with a 13-4 defeat against Montenegro – their fifth loss from five games
But rather than finishing on a downer, Ryder believes this can just be the starting point for the sport.
To the 25-year-old, their youth and rookie status are Team GB’s biggest asset and will stand them in good stead when they are divided in their constituent parts for the 2014 Commonwealth Games also in Glasgow.
“I think we definitely did ourselves justice at the Games and we have learned an awful lot playing against the best teams in the world,” he said.
“It has been a fantastic experience for the team and one that we will definitely use over the next few years.
“We don’t want the Games to be the end for this water polo team at all because we are quite a young team and we believe that we can really kick on in the next few years.
“It has been hard against the best teams in the world but the results don’t reflect the games we had. There were plenty of games where we won quarters against some of the best teams in the world which is a great positive for the future and building towards the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
“The Olympics has been a massive stepping stone for the team.”
While Ryder is insistent the squad can go places in the coming years, the post-Olympic landscape might make that progress difficult.
Funding is likely to be scarce, but the water-polo squad are used to coping pretty much on their own.
However Ryder believes the sport will certainly endure whatever happens post Games.
“We have got a lot of very good young players and we have got a lot of potential and now that we have the Olympic experience under our belt, we can only improve,” he added.
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