Dundee University water polo are hailing the success of their teams against all the odds as they prepare to battle it out for promotion.
The uni squads have been without a coach this season yet both the men and women have performed magnificently to win their respective leagues.
The uni lads topped the British Universities and Colleges Sport Scottish 1A league, finishing with 24 points out of a possible 28 and, along the way, beating long-standing rivals St Andrews University both home and away.
The women’s team also romped to the top-tier title, winning 18 out of a possible 20 points, losing only to Stirling University.
There was cup success, too, with both sides reaching the last-16 of their 64-team UK-wide knockout trophies.
The men will now enter play-offs on Wednesday against Sheffield Hallam University to try to gain promotion to the BUCS Premier North division.
And their captain Ben Parsons believes they have achieved that success through teamwork and leadership from experienced players as they aim to go even further.
The mechanical engineering student from Dundee said: “There are a couple of us who are qualified coaches and play as well.
“Our coach retired at the end of last season and we took it on ourselves. The results have been great, winning both the leagues.
“The guys knew we had a fairly decent chance but we knew it would be hard without our coach.
“I think the girls were more surprised they won because Glasgow and Stirling usually dominate that league.
“The results are a fantastic achievement as other university water polo teams in Scotland have paid coaches.
“Next year we hope to be playing in the Premier North against some top teams in England like Manchester Met and Durham but we have play-offs to get through first.”
Their performances so far led to them being awarded Team of the Year at the uni’s sports awards and, as well as their group success, there have been individual accolades, too.
Parsons and team-mate Sam Muir, integral to Dundee Uni’s success, have been called up to represent Scotland at the upcoming BUCS Celtic Nations tournament, where Parsons will also skipper the Scots.
The 21-year-old, who also competes for Menzieshill Whitehall, is looking forward to switching his focus to international duty when he leads Scotland out in Cardiff on April 13-14 to pick up his third cap.
Meanwhile, Muir is set to make his first Scots appearance in the Welsh capital.
Parsons, reflecting on his and Muir’s rise since starting out in the sport, added: “It should be really good fun playing against Wales.
“It usually involves Ireland as well but they pulled out and we’ll play Wales twice now.
“I am part of Menzieshill Whitehall and used to swim for them so I stayed after sometimes to train in water polo and got into it that way.
“To go from that, to Scotland junior captain for the U/18 side as well and then the first-team skipper has been great.
“Sam and I are both first-team players at Menzieshill but we coach the junior team, too, so there is a pathway there.
“It’s been a terrific season and I hope we can cap it properly.”