Gabriella Tyrrell splashes for the ball as Jaydon Raymond tries to intercept from the side during Sunday’s water polo practice session at SEAPARC Leisure Complex.

Water polo is making a splash

SEAPARC offering water polo to youth every Sunday morning

Water polo is making a splash in Sooke, with a new program at SEAPARC Leisure Complex.

Myles Wallace, an instructor at SEAPARC, developed the new program after playing competitive water polo in Vancouver.

Aquatic programmer Elizabeth Olsen, who helped launch the program, wasn’t sure if water polo would takeoff in Sooke.

Within days, the water polo program was booked solid with 21 youth taking part every Sunday morning.

Water polo is a graceful dance of pinpoint passes and creative playmaking, punctuated by powerful shots on net.

The game consists of six field players and a goalkeeper. Except for the goalkeeper, players participate in both offensive and defensive roles.

SEAPARC’s aquatic program has been growing quickly over the last two years with hundreds of children and adults looking for new opportunities in the water.

Part of the problem Sooke has in developing new programming is the lack of qualified staff to run certain programs, so when Wallace offered and was keen to try water polo, Olsen grabbed the opportunity.

“I decided to do it to keep people active and it’s a really hard workout as well as fun communication and something else to do with the pool,” she said.

The Sunday water polo program has a mixed level of skill level and the group has been divided into two. There’s even talk of expanding the program into an adult night league.

The ultimate hope for Olsen is to move into a development program for youth, and perhaps enter into a competitive league in Greater Victoria.

“One thing we always need to keep in mind at SEAPARC is that recreation is for everyone – not just the super competitive – so we design our programs for everyone,” Olsen said.

 

Synchronized swimming takes to the pool

Water polo is not the only new program SEAPARC is offering in the pool this winter.

A 10-week program for synchronized swimming began two weeks ago and the 22 spots were filled immediately, said Elizabeth Olsen, aquatic programmer.

The program was offered for free when SEAPARC received a grant from VIA Sport and the province. The grant was aimed towards girls, ages seven to 14.

SEAPARC staffer Jo-Anne Aspin, a former competitive synchronize swimming athlete, is leading the program.

“We never had this kind of program before now,” Olsen said. “It’s just a very good, feel good kind of program.”