Mitchell Charlesworth Partner's Daughter Competes on the World Stage

Brian McCann, Partner and Director of MC Vanguard Corporate Finance spends much of his spare time supporting his daughter, Fiona McCann, who in the past week has been competing in the London Olympics for the GB Water Polo team.

In this article, originally featured in the Liverpool Post's 'My Day Off' section, Brian McCann outlines the dedication required from parent and athlete alike, in order to reach the pinnacle of your chosen sport and once again proving that Mitchell Charlesworth are so much more than 'just' your accountants.

Brian McCann

For many years much of my time off was spent at the swimming pool with my children - blowing up armbands, wringing out swimming costumes and taking on the role of their underwater surfboard!.

I always enjoyed the pool and swam for Cheshire in my prime. I was keen for my four children, Philip, Fiona, Duncan and Holly to share my passion. And as time went on it became clear my second eldest Fiona was a very talented swimmer.

Since her days in the shallow end she has spent hours of hard work and training to refine and develop her talent. She is now 25 years old and a very special athlete. In little more than a week she will be competing in the London Olympics for the women's GB water polo team.

Olympic Opening Ceremony
The GB Water Polo Team at the Opening Ceremony - Back Row, Second from Right - Fiona McCann

For Fiona this will be the pinnacle of more than 10 years of dedication to the sport. For the McCann family it will be one of our proudest ever moments.

Final preparations for the Olympics are now underway. Fiona has just returned  with teammates from a final  training camp in Hungary before returning for the first battle against Russia on July 30.  They have a tough group also lining up against Italy and Australia. Although, with only eight teams making it to the Olympics - along with Hungary, Spain, China and the US - they are mixing with the world water polo elite. No game will be easy.

Only a handful of years ago the GB women's water polo team were slipping closer to 20th in global rankings. In that time the sport has gained in popularity. The nomination of London as the 2012 Olympics destination also acted as a key driver to bring about improvements and ensure the host nation was represented in the competition.

Over the last couple of years Fiona's water polo career has taken her across the globe. My initial position as chief chauffeur in her early competition days has now turned into more of an international cheerleading role. We tend to build our holiday schedule around the water polo calendar. This has inevitably led us to some unusual places including remote parts of Greece, most recently, catching water taxis between Skitahos and Volos to fly the GB water polo flag. The destinations are not always easy to get to, but it is always very rewarding.

Fiona first took the plunge at City of Chester Swimming Club where she quickly found herself competing in galas where her favourite event was the 200m breaststroke. before she was scouted. When she was  in her early teens, Fiona began to play Water Polo for Chester and then was scouted to play for the City of Liverpool Water Polo Club. Very quickly we could all see that Fiona was made for the sport. She enjoyed swimming, but the high-octane, team working buzz of water polo really got her hooked. Her first match was almost 10 years ago to the day.

Studying at Christleton High School, Chester, she moved on to  Sixth Form College in Manchester before starting a sports science degree at Liverpool John Moores University as part of a sporting scholarship. JUM gave great support over the 3 years of her course. She has now taken on a masters degree in marketing and is very interested in sports related marketing and advertising. One of her biggest sacrifices has been putting this career on hold.

Fiona's first major breakthrough came at 18 when she was selected for the GB women's water polo team for the first time. The year after that she competed in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. This was swiftly followed by the appointment of Hungarian Silvester Fekete as team manager which greatly lifted the profile of the GB squad.

From there Fiona has never looked back. In the last two years she has competed in the European Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the World University Games in Shenzhen, China, and many other far flung places with the FINA Water Polo World League and European club competitions with her Liverpool team.

For those who don't know much about water polo it is a tremendous sport. As with all sports in this age it requires a huge amount of practice and training. It is highly physical, often involves lung busting sprints and excellent hand-eye coordination. Underlying all of this, it is built around slick team work.

We have been watching Fiona's team very closely over the recent months. They are united and disciplined. They are steadily closing the gap on the world's top teams, losing by single goals to the US, Russia and Australia. We certainly believe they can upset the odds and secure a medal. But the most important aspect for us is that Fiona is rewarded for her dedication and we hope everyone from her hometown will join us by showing their support.

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