LOCAL Croydon swimmer Scott Allen is set to represent Team GB at the Underwater Hockey World Championships in Eger, Hungary. The Championships has attracted some 70 teams from more than 20 countries, and although all the action will be on the bottom of an Olympic sized pool, games will be broadcast live on the internet to keep the growing global audience up with the action and news. Allen has already played for Team GB at International level and two previous World Championships (playing 80+ matches) and is acknowledged as one of the rising talents on the International club scene. He secured a GB place in just his second year playing the game and was in the UK team that won a Bronze medal at the Worlds in Slovenia 2009, and part of the winning team at the European Championship in Breda, in that same year. Scott's talent has not gone un-noticed. He is already Vice-Captain of West Wickham UWH Club having transferred from competitive swimming six years ago. Today, the club is one of the largest in the country with a number of players from Croydon and the club has regular bookings at several pools, including Crystal National Palace Sports Centre. The club has an 'Elite' squad that competes at National and International level, a growing junior section, and an active club section; hence can cater for all swimming abilities and age groups. "After eight years of competitive swimming I'd had enough of the lane swimming routine and wanted something different and more inspiring," said Allen. "After playing just a few games I enjoyed the teamwork aspect of Underwater Hockey and could see this would be a great sport for me. "The social side is great too, and I've already travelled to some great places representing my country, something I could only have dreamed of growing up." The sport takes Hockey to a whole new dimension with the playing area being the bottom of a swimming pool. It's a truly unique sport requiring the use of snorkelling gear (mask, fins, and snorkel) combining swimming skills, good fitness and breath holding as all the action is underwater. The object of the game is to push the puck (specially designed and weighted) using a small short stick ("pusher") into the opposing team's goal. A team can consist of up to ten people, with six players in the water (at any one time) and others acting as substitutes. Since its humble beginnings as a pastime to keep divers fit in the winter months, Underwater Hockey has developed beyond all recognition into a truly international sport. The club, whose junior section is expanding to De Stafford Sports Centre in Caterham, are always on the lookout for new players. If you're interested in trying out a new sport or finding out more, email chairman Paul Pizzey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07966 861752.
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