I’ve played water polo since I was 12 years old, so you could say it’s a passion of mine. I started my career in Montreal, Canada, at one of the most prestigious clubs in North America, Dollard-Des-Ormeaux. I then continued my playing in college while at Notre Dame. Now I play for the Wetskins and the Women’s Capitol Area Polo clubs, each practicing together up in Takoma. I have become a pretty active member in their community over the past 3 years and will likely continue to do so for my stay here in DC.
Having this experience, I found that over the course of the past 14 years, I have used three main sites to help me with my water polo needs: Water Polo Canada, Collegiate Water Polo Association, and USA Water Polo. I have never looked any further than these sites, but am interested to see what is out there for a community like this.
Water Polo Canada recently redesigned their website, so many aspects are new. In addition to the typical information about leagues, rosters, and results, they have a water polo Canada Twitter feed. Although this was only last updated 14 days ago, it seems to be pretty active when there is a national or international tournament taking place. They also linked to a personal YouTube channel which is new in the last 3 months. They have videos of players and coaches giving post-game recaps. The channel only has 4 subscribers with no user comments, but it is still relatively new. The site now has a newsletter and a “membership login” option, which may earn you further access to the site. There are, however, no polls or no places to comment on news stories or posts.
USA Water Polo also has a YouTube Channel, but it is much more active. They currently have 63 uploaded videos, 80 subscribers, and comments on multiple videos. They also have posts about clubs and teams of different levels, not exclusively players from National teams who recap plays. Unlike the Canadian site, there are message boards for members to post topics and questions. Some threads have amassed dozens of responses, which is pretty impressive for a water polo website. They also have a members forum and database search for local members, clubs and leagues. This is an important aspect of the site because it builds the offline water polo community where, naturally, water polo is played.
The CWPA website has also been redesigned recently (thank god). Through navigating, I found one element I thought really helpful for young members of the water polo community: “Ask an athlete”. They allow anyone to submit a question and the CWPA will forward to a current water polo athlete. It’s a very nifty idea, because it adds human element to the site and builds a tighter community, but I think it would be more beneficial to set this up as message boards, or at least post all Q&A, so other visitors could benefit from the information as well. The site has an elaborate database of contact information for men and women’s club and varsity teams around the country. They also have an online form that allows you to update your team’s information online. These are important aspects of the site, and though I think they could be better presented and formated (like with a search bar, for example), it allows current and potential collegiate water polo players to communicate with one another, building the foundation for a lasting community. The site features multiple news stories, many of them highlighting “players of the week,” but one of the recent ones linking to an online stream of a game. Thought the CWPA did not host this video, they did a good job showcasing this link so parents and fans could find it. The site also has a newsletter and a weekly poll adding to the site’s interactive elements.
WaterPoloPlanet.com is also another site I found as a good resource for the water polo community. There is an extensive list of articles written by different writers, featuring drills, coaching success stories, nutrition, and more. There is also a very active message board with topics varying from general news to national teams. These threads are full of member’s comments, questions, and moderator notes. This site is more a resource for young players looking to advance their career and coaches seeking additional advice.
H20Polo.com self-proclaims to allow “the water polo player and fan have the opportunity to interact dynamically with this site.” It is an excellent idea, though it does not fully deliver to its mission. Though it is a great place to find links within the water polo community, this site lacks them messages boards, videos, and articles that the more specialized websites feature.
Waterpolo-world.com, as the name says, focusses on water polo around the world and not just North America. Though this is not necessarily a resource for building the sports within our country, it allows us to see where our sport and teams fall on an international level. This site is mostly a news outlet to find out what are the top stories in the sport around the world.
Facebook has also been a pretty good resource for water polo, succeeding mainly on a local level. There are a few open groups and pages, but those don’t seem to offer much information (the largest water polo fan page boasts over 5,000 member, but is only filled with posts of member shouting “I love water polo!”) I am a member of my old team’s (DDO) Facebook group. This is a fantastic page with constant, real-time updates about each age group team’s results, posts from fans and current/past players, messages to members, links to water polo videos, an extensive photo gallery, and much more. Though it only boasts 172 member, it is a huge resource for current players, as well as alumni like myself who find it hard to stay up to speed with current events.
I was hoping to find a website that harmoniously combined all these aspects of the sport: national amateur coverage, collegiate scores, International results, skill-teaching, and a database of youth, professional, and club teams and contacts. Currently, people may play during their youth, but lose track once they leave for college. Continuously, collegiate players who are not good enough to make a national team will miss out on club opportunities in their area because they don’t know where to find one. Social clubs may also miss out on local tournament in which to participate because there is to central location to showcase them. A website like that would bring together all aspects of the community and build a strong one online, and off.
I guess that will have to wait until I make my first million and have time to dedicate to the creation of my long-standing vision of “pickupwaterpolo.com”