DUNFERMLINE Water Polo Club star Niamh Moloney has hailed her first senior Great Britain call-up as a "really good experience".

The 19-year-old recently travelled to Becej, Serbia, for the first weekend in the Danube League competition, which takes place over five weekends throughout the season across different countries.

And, as she keeps her fingers crossed for selection when the next round of fixtures takes place, the 2018 Scottish Junior Water Polo Player of the Year revealed how some innovative training kept her in the swim during lockdown.

Two years ago, Niamh competed for GB at the LEN (European Swimming League) Women's European Junior Water Polo Championships, where she scored five goals in the process.

This time around, she played in all five games for GB, in a competition that features three Serbian squads, Red Star, VKD Taš2000 and Vojvodina; Hungary’s Valdor Szentes; Romania’s Bucuresti; Slovakia’s Olympia Kosice; and Croatian duo ZAVK Mladost and VK Jadran.

"Unfortunately we didn't win any, but we drew our last game, which was quite a result because all the teams are pretty much professional," Niamh explained.

"They either all get paid or train with each other eight times a week, which is nowhere near as much in GB. We did pretty well considering it was our first time back playing games in two years.

"One of the teams we played this time is Szentes, who are one of the top teams in Hungary who usually win it nationally every year, so that was quite a tough one. It was a really good experience, especially because it was my first time playing against other women.

"The last time I played, it was against people in my age group. This time, there's players in there that have represented their country for the Olympics and things like that.

"It was just a case of going in and trying your best, really!"

Although she said she left "quite lucky" to be selected, Niamh said she hand an "inkling" it was a possibility, and has set her sights high for the rest of the competition.

"There's only two of us who are left-handers in the team and, in water polo, left-handers are quite rare," she continued.

"Obviously I was very happy and a wee bit surprised when they did say can you come and play, but I had a wee inkling that I might have been asked as well. Especially since there hasn't been anything for two years, it was even more exciting and I just wanted it to come quicker to be honest!

"It's over five weekends, over 2021/2022, and I think the next weekend is in December. I'm guessing going to play every team twice, and the top six teams go to the final weekend. That's what we're aiming for and hopefully we can get to that, especially in our first year entering it.

"It would be good to go again and play the other teams. I think this weekend, these were harder teams, so the next weekend would hopefully be quite good to go in and win some of the games. We haven't played together as a team, and most of us haven't played a game in two years, whereas all the other teams have been playing pretty much throughout Covid.

"It's given us some confidence, especially knowing we've played some of the harder teams."

Being back in the pool and playing matches – Niamh is also part of the combined Caledonia Women Water Polo team that play in the British Water Polo League – has been a boost, especially after the training regime she took on when swimming pools were closed.

"When we first went into lockdown, because pools were shut, I decided I would buy one of those pools you can put in your back garden," Niamh added.

"It was deep enough for me to swim in, and I just attached myself to a tree, and just swam for 40 minutes a day to try and keep the swimming up!

"It was quite hard, especially when it got to the winter months, because it was freezing outside and the pool had no heating in it. We also had land training, not necessarily with the women's team, but with my age group, we did land training Zoom calls.

"It wasn't too hard to keep the motivation because there was stuff we did all together, so it was quite good."