Two university water polo players are helping to spread the sport to pools across Alberta.
Summer intern students Raine Paul and Alynn Reade are travelling across the province with the Alberta Water Polo Association’s summer program, teaching the fundamentals of the sport to youths.
“We’re going all over Alberta and just hosting little intro to water polo things,” said Paul.
“It’s kind of a recruitment thing,” she added with a laugh.
Water polo is a popular sport in some of Alberta’s larger cities; Edmonton has several teams and the men’s national team trains in Calgary. However the sport hasn’t yet trickled into many of the smaller communities around the province.
Reade and Paul taught two sessions at the Ponoka Aquaplex on July 31, one for the Ponoka Youth Centre and another for the swim club.
“I think water polo gives kids swimming skills without just going back and forth,” said Paul.
As the summer progresses she’s noticed over and over that the players can improve with just a one-hour session. “In the beginning they’re kind of clumsy and they don’t know what to do with the ball. By the end you have to tell them to settle down. They get so into it.”
Reade and Paul have taught 45 sessions since they started in June and may teach as many as 70 before the end of August.
“I really just love watching little kids play,” said Paul. “It really gives kids another sport they can play.”
Reade and Paul used to both play for the same club team in Calgary and now play for different universities in California. Reade plays the position of utility player at Azusa Pacific University, and Paul is a driver at the California Baptist University.