Step forward Dr Toby King, who, after helping Southampton win their latest match in men’s Championship 3, is settling into the new job, convinced of the need to build a stronger, more structured future for the sport in this country.
At 50, Toby is definitely one of the League’s more senior players, although not, he stresses, by Southampton standards! Superfit pair Mark Williams, aged 59, and 64-year-old Dave Dunne are still registered to play in Championship 2 after years of yeoman British League service. All three turn out together for Southampton in the Hampshire League, where the crunch game of the season sees the title-winning Southampton Gents – the club’s seasoned old gang – take on Southampton Lads, a team drawn from the younger players.
Toby is a former international triathlete, who represented Great Britain at the World Championships in Mexico (1995) and Australia (1997). His passion for water polo developed during six years at Cambridge University, where he was coached by ex-GB goalkeeper Andy Knight, who of course still plays for Cambridge in the British League.
After his triathlon successes, Toby turned out for Bedford. Then, after a few years working in California, he moved to Southampton, demonstrating his organisational skills by co-founding Southampton WP Club (it split off from the City of Southampton SC) and helping set up the Hampshire network, which encourages junior water polo development in a number of clubs in the area.
Toby’s professional career involved building and working in small, hi-tech engineering companies, predominantly in the medical devices and renewable energy sectors and he now advises a variety of early stage businesses. He stepped down a while ago from full-time work but is Chair of Trustees at Winchester Science Centre, inspiring curiosity in primary school children; Deputy Chair of EngineeringUK, the national charity promoting engineering to young people; as well as lecturing on innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Southampton Business School.
Toby lives in Southampton with wife Jacqui and sons Ben (15), Jamie (12) and 10-year-old Sam. He says: “I very much look forward to working with Swim England and I’d like to thank all the people who have sent me their best wishes for the new challenge.”