There’s a new water polo club in town.
The Vancouver Island Water Polo Association is based out of the University of Victoria’s McKinnon pool and is the second club of its kind in Greater Victoria.
Colette Baty is one of the original five parents who started the club, now in its second year.
Baty and the other parents all had kids at the Saanich Waterpolo School at Saanich Commonwealth Place.
Baty says the experience at Saanich Waterpolo was a positive one, but adds that she saw there was room, and a need, for another club in Greater Victoria.
“(The Vancouver Island Water Polo Association) started as a girls club only, but over the last year grew into both genders and various ages,” Baty said.
“We just want kids to reach their personal goals. If it’s just recreational, that’s great, if they want to play competitively, that’s great too.”
The original team was the girls 15-and-under VI Sirens and a team of younger girls. The organization now has dozens of players aged 12 to 19.
Members can play three times a week, Sunday afternoons, and Tuesday and Thursday nights, and be of any skill level. UVic has a non-varsity water polo club which some of the VI members join on Saturdays.
Getting regular pool space for the new club was a full time job for about two weeks, but UVic came through.
“It’s a tricky thing, it wasn’t impossible but it did take some work,” Baty said. “Some kids have played before and want to stay with the sport recreationally, others are there because they want to try it out, and some are competitive.”
The majority of the new club is made up of players from Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich and the Peninsula, she said.
Despite its cachet as an Olympic sport, there isn’t a water polo league for youths in Victoria. Mostly, the players train and enter tournaments.
“Water polo is not as set as soccer or hockey. We did have two teams (co-ed under 16 and 18) play in the Lower Mainland Water Polo League this past fall, but essentially there’s no season for Victoria players.”
The U16 team won silver and the U18 team finished fourth in the mainland league’s end of the season tournament.
Last year, the Sirens girls team went to nationals in Winnipeg and is hoping to do so again at Quebec City this year.
The club runs September to May and youths can still join. Visit vancouverislandwaterpolo.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the Saanich Waterpolo school, visit waterpoloschool.com or email email@example.com.