PORTSMOUTH’S WINNING WATER POLO CLUB
One of the best things about writing for Strong Island is how it creates opportunities to meet people around Portsmouth and to be introduced to new & different creative, cultural or sport activities that they have a passion for. Earlier this month I popped down to Mountbatten Leisure Centre to visit the guys at Portsmouth Water Polo Club.
The Portsmouth City Water Polo (PCWP) club was established in August 2009 to cater for an increased demand for a water polo team in Portsmouth. The club was initially setup under Portsmouth City Council’s – Back to Sports Programme to help promote the club locally and now they are a fully registered ASA water polo club competing in the Hampshire league. The club has training sessions on Thursday evenings in the main pool at Mountbatten and has different groups for different ages and abilities, with the first session for free.
…you can visit for lunch, a day or an overnight package and gain a taste of fort life for yourself
You don’t have to be a great swimmer to get started and the training builds confidence fast…
I was aware of the sport previously from seeing the odd clip on TV but had never seen the sport played in person. The game is thought to have originated in Scotland in the late 19th century as a sort of “water rugby” and at a first glance that sort of makes sense. For the first part of the training session it was great seeing the trainers work with the players on different training activities, very similar to rugby or football training, for example. With work on core swimming techniques, passing, movement and (I guess) ‘dribbling’ the ball, you could see immediately the appeal of the sport for fitness and for becoming very relaxed and comfortable in the water.
You don’t have to be a great swimmer to get started and the training builds confidence fast, and with Water Polo being played at a depth where you cannot touch the bottom, you quickly improve. The juniors were having fun, competitive and fast with the ball. With the seniors you could see the depth of skill and the power you could play the special ball with.
With the training finished it was time for a competitive match with the large floating goals at each end of the 25 metre ‘half’ pool. The teams were a mix of experience, gender, age and skills, with one of them donning the recognisable Water Polo caps, designed to allow you to quickly see your fellow team players in the pool and to protect your ears. The match was fast and furious, quickly changing from one end to the next as players took the ball down to the goals, passing through a flurry of defending hands and huge sprays of water. It was clear that there was a lot of subtlety to the sport with balls lobbed, ‘bounced’ off the surface with spins, players passing and moving and the goalkeeper working to break down the shooting angles, as well as using power to leap from the water to block any attempts on goal. The game consists of 4 quarters and the teams play a lot like basketball or ice hockey with players swapping in and out of the pool.
…passing through a flurry of defending hands and huge sprays of water…
…the members were all clearly passionate & dedicated about their sport…
For a first visit and a first real experience of Water Polo I had a great time (out of the water – not the best swimmer) and regretted I hadn’t brought along my trunks. The club was really welcoming and friendly, the members were all clearly passionate & dedicated about their sport and it was fantastic be invited. If you want to get involved you can pop along to their training sessions and have your first session free (you can book HERE). If you want to have a watch, the club plays matches until the end of the season at the end of the month before the summer break, the upcoming fixtures are HERE. Also there is a big competition in Portsmouth later this year too.
To find out more visit the Portsmouth Water Polo Club website at: