The London Orca European Water Polo Championship tournament is taking place on Friday 2 November, with LGBT teams hoping for victory in the competition. Rory Desch profiles Richard Hackney, from Out to Swim’s LGBT water polo club London Orca.

Richard, originally from Lincoln, moved to London late last year. Once settled, he looked to get involved in sport and found there were lots of gay sports clubs to choose from.

However, Out to Swim’s London Orca stood out for him, especially as it has an accessible beginners course where you learn the basics of the game.

Richard was keen to get fit and become involved in a team sport, not just to become good at a sport, but to benefit from the social element of being involved in a team.

Having a natural love for water, Richard has never needed much encouragement to swim.

He was lucky enough to have gone to university in Cornwall, so he never missed an opportunity to swim in the sea.

Richard’s experience as an Orca has been very positive; the team has been welcoming and always willing to share their knowledge of the game.

Naturally inquisitive; Richard is also not shy in seeking pointers on technique. But it is not just his ability to play that has improved; he feels it’s had positive effects on his physique, stamina and confidence also.

And it doesn’t stop there, being part of the team has opened the door to new friendships and even a new flatmate. So, I think it’s fair to say it’s not just a team; it’s a supportive network too.

Richard explained that no one is excluded from the club, no matter what their ability is.

Though it’s probably best to try out the beginners’ course first, some new players just come along to the normal sessions to try it out.

His thoughts are – “just come on down and get stuck in”. He explains that’s it’s a fast contact sport, with some great personal benefits and stresses that there’s nothing like a good water polo training session to get him buzzing.

So, if you’re thinking about trying something new; why not come along and support the team in our upcoming tournament at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, London, on Friday 2 November and see what the team is all about. The next London Orcas beginners’ course takes place in January 2013.

More information can be found here.