The Athlone U16 water polo team with coach Mariusz Smialek at the National Aquatic Centre.

Athlone RSC set to hold water polo open night

Athlone Regional Sports Centre (RSC) are hosting a free open water polo night this coming Sunday, October 2, and are inviting girls and boys who were born in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 to come along and give the sport a try.

Any child aged 9 to 13 who can swim 50m or two lengths of the Athlone RSC pool and can thread water in the deep end are welcome for what will be a fun introductory session. Parents and children attending will get the opportunity to watch the Under-16 and Under-14 teams play a demonstration match at 6pm and afterwards the children will get their chance to learn some of the basic water polo skills and to play a match themselves.

No previous experience of water polo is required, as the demonstration match will give everyone a flavor of how the game is played.

In addition, three Swim Ireland Level 2 water polo coaches will be on hand to explain all the basic rules and to make sure all involved have a fun night.

Anyone wishing to attend are asked to book their free place in advance by emailing or phoning Athlone RSC on 090 6470975.

Athlone RSC Water Polo Club was formed in 2015 as part of the Swim for Life programme at the sports centre. Children who had completed the ten stages of the programme were being introduced to Water Polo as part of the Swimfit syllabus and from that a demand was created.

Athlone RSC staff and members who had previous experience playing in the early 1990s in the old Athlone pool came together this week seven years ago to take part in the first training session for adults and over the following months the momentum grew.

The first Junior training sessions began in May 2016 with four Swim Ireland water polo coaches at the helm, Charlie Naughton, Mariusz Smialek, Pauline McDermott and Peter Lemass. The Sunday evening sessions for players aged 8 to 17 proved popular and from that Under-16 and Under-14 teams were formed.

In 2017 Athlone RSC entered a Senior team in the National League for the first time and in the 2021/22 season, teams were fielded in the U-16 and U-14 Leagues also.

The club currently has over 60 members and is now keen to recruit new players to form teams at U13, U12 and U11 levels.

The Open Night on Sunday will provide an opportunity for any swimmers of that age who would like a new challenge to give water polo a try!