Olympic water polo star still making waves at 80

Peter Head, soon to be 80-years-old, playing water polo for the Norwich Water Polo team during train

Peter Head, soon to be 80-years-old, playing water polo for the Norwich Water Polo team during training at the Wymondham Leisure Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

He could be forgiven for taking it easy doing a few lengths in the swimming pool.

But after 70 years, a Hethersett man is still competing in sport known for its rough play.

Peter Head, who turns 80 tomorrow, represented Great Britain as a swimmer at the Helsinski Olympics in 1952, aged just 17.

Mr Head, to this day still gets in the pool to play water polo, a sport he has done so since the age of ten.

He said: 'They will have to kick me out of the pool before I leave. Getting in the pool has always been a great hobby as well as a good exercise.

'I took to the waters when I was ten and ended up going to represent my country in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and European Championships which were extremely proud moments in my life.

'When I stopped swimming in 1957 it became a recreational activity and now I have been playing water polo for 70 years and it feels like I am starting to get the hang of it now.'

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Mr Head's most succesful performance in professional swimming came in Paris 1957, where he came second in both the 100m and 400m freestyle at the World University Games.

Mr Head's focus is now solely on water polo after giving up competitive swimming.

He has been training twice a week with Norwich Water Polo Club at Wymondham pool since his move, and last year, he was honoured to be elected president of the club.

He said: 'I've lost my speed so I just train with the team rather than play games these days. I don't understand why people who don't make the grade at professional swimming, don't move over to water polo as it is a physical but a very fun team sport.

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