Over the past year, Water Polo WA has been committed to running regional community programs to spread both the influence and awareness of water polo around Western Australia.
The sport has limited exposure outside Perth which is why the State’s peak sporting body is actively engaging with children in rural communities.
As a result of a recently formed partnership between Water Polo WA and the Wirrpanda Foundation, four Perth-based representatives went to the Midwest in January to run a clinic.
Ed Slade and Tom Prior, two Fremantle Mariners playing in the OVO Australian Water Polo League, joined Water Polo WA Development Officers Dale Kickett and Jacinta Anderson in the Mid West town of Wiluna.
While the team arrived to uncharacteristic and unfavourable conditions, many of the local kids braved the cold and got involved with the clinics which targeted basic water polo ball skills, giving them a general idea of the logistics of the sport.
As conditions prevented too much water access, the visitors got the chance to spend time and hang out with the kids in the local recreation centre, which again supports the notion of engaging with sport for everyone.
Tom and Ed also visited the Wiluna Remote Community School in time to see the kids head back to school for their first day of the year.
“This experience has shown us there’s significant potential for success with these regional programs,” said Tom. “Even though conditions were not ideal, the interest and involvement that the kids displayed over the three days has identified that this water polo program can be a success.
“Water Polo WA would like to thank the Wirrpanda Foundation for the opportunity and hope that there may be more like this in the near future as it has given us a great opportunity to engage with young Aboriginal children and provide them with knowledge of our terrific sport.”