LONDON 2012: Tough Olympic draw for Great Britain's water polo teams
GREAT Britain's water polo teams now know their opponents for this summer's London 2012 Olympics - and it's going to be tough.
CHALLENGE: Great Britain's women's captain Fran Leighton knows the Olympic draw could have been worse for her side - but the men have it really tough
The men's team have been drawn in Group B and, while avoiding world champions Italy, they will face Olympic champions Hungary, Beijing bronze medallists Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and the USA.
The women fared only slightly better with the luck of their draw and will take on Italy, Russia and tournament favourites Australia in Group B.
British women's coach Szilveszter Fekete has been given a glimpse of the difficult task ahead at this week's Olympic test event, where his side lost their third consecutive game, although they pushed World Cup champions USA all the way, going down narrowly 7-6.
“All the games at the Olympics are going to be tough but we’re pleased to have a mixture of European teams as well as Australia," said women's captain Fran Leighton.
“We’ve had the chance to play against Australia this week in London and know what we need to do to improve against them
“We’re going to Greece for the World League matches next week then we’ll be go back to Manchester and continue to train hard and focus on London 2012.
“After experiencing the fantastic support this week at the Water Polo Arena, we can’t wait to get back in July for the Games.”
Fekete's side are considered better prospects in London than the men's team, who have won four Olympic titles, albeit the last one was in Antwerp 92 years ago.
“It’s a really tough draw," admitted men's captain Craig Figes.
"Serbia, Montenegro and Romania were the top three teams at the European Championships this year and Hungary have won the gold at the past three Olympic Games. Throw the USA into the mix and we certainly have a fight on our hands.
“Getting the chance to play against the very best teams in the world is what we train for; there is nothing better than playing against the very best.
"It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to see how far we have come in the last few years and the challenge is one we will enjoy.”
Meanwhile, Fekete claims his side have grown in stature during this week's four-team London Prepares series tournament, where they will now face Hungary in Sunday's third place play-off.
Francesca Painter-Snell scored three times in the narrow defeat to the USA while Ciara Gibson-Byrne contributed a double and Lisa Gibson also netted.
"I think we were equals with the World Cup champions and one of the big favourites for the Olympics so I'm very happy," said Fekete.
"I think it was a really good game for us. We showed good concentration, good fight, good discipline. We stayed organised throughout in defence.
"We started a little bit nervously, perhaps that was down to emotions in our first game against the USA."
© Sportsbeat 2012