Upcoming Water Polo Tournaments
IGLA Water Polo Teams
Gay Aquatics Hoofddorp – Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
The email list and discussion group for water polo players and teams and friends who are members of or are interested in IGLA synchro can be found here: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/igla-waterpolo-committee.
You can also check out the IGLA Facebook Group by clicking here.
IGLA Water Polo
By Mike Crosby
All over the world gay and lesbian athletes dive in and play water polo. IGLA water polo teams offer competition, skill-development, opportunities to play other teams, and friendship. Water polo is an anchor sport of IGLA. IGLA actively seeks to reach out to help build teams and create a network for the exchange of ideas.
Although not contested at the first two Gay Games in 1982 and 1986, water polo was included at the first IGLA Championships in 1987 in San Diego, CA. The players were primarily swimmers who found the time and energy for a polo match. For the next nine years, polo games were played around the IGLA swim meet — usually after the day’s swimming events were over.
IGLA ’96, in Washington, D.C., marked a turning point for IGLA polo. For the first time, polo was held at a separate venue from the swimming competition, allowing organizers to hold matches all day long, without waiting for swimming to end. The practice continued during IGLA ’99, at the superb Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, site of the 1996 Summer Olympics, where polo, swimming and diving were held in one facility.
Attendees at IGLA ’97, in San Diego, CA, witnessed one of the most exciting final polo matches in IGLA history. The gold medal game between West Hollywood and the Seattle Otters went into double overtime — and Seattle won, ending West Hollywood’s five-year reign as IGLA water polo champions. But West Hollywood came roaring back in 2001 for another four championship streak.
Today, there are teams in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, London, New York, Montreal, San Diego, Seattle, Utah, Vancouver, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Toronto, Copenhagen, and West Hollywood. Now, there are normally two divisions at IGLA championships: The Trophy and Cup. If there are at least three women’s teams, we hold a separate women’s division. The level of play throughout IGLA has been elevated by the expansion of IGLA water polo competition.
IGLA encourages other cities to start new teams.
The IGLA Water Polo Committee assists new and existing teams develop their programs and welcomes new teams to the IGLA competitive family.
2013 IGLA Championship Gold Medal match between San Francisco Tsumadre and San Francisco Tsunami
How to find a team
Are you interested in joining a water polo team? Check out the IGLA Teams page. If you don’t find one listed, you can always start one.
No team in your city? Start one!
So you want to start a polo team? GREAT!!!! Setting up a team is easier than you think. But before you go at it alone and get frustrated, send us an email so we can help. We can put you in touch with people who have great ideas and can make your job easier.
Let’s start with equipment. First, find a pool with goals. Goals are very expensive so you won’t want to buy them. Call your local public pools and see which ones have access to them. Balls and caps are usually bought by the team. Balls run anywhere from $15-35 apiece in the US. Try to set up a team discount with a local swim shop and the price will go down.
A second step is (usually) licensing from your national aquatics body that is recognized by FINA. This is very important in the US and Canada but not always so in Europe.
In the US:
Start with US Water Polo team registration and a USWP registered coach. The team registration cost is $60. Each player must be also register with USWP (about $70.00 per year). USWP membership provides insurance coverage — a must-have in a physical sport like polo.
Your team needs to have a registered coach so your USWP insurance is valid. For the swimmers in the group, this is very similar to the USMS rules. Minor detail but critical in case someone gets hurt.
There is no individual registration with Water Polo Canada (unlike in the US). Provincial water polo associations (e.g. British Columbia Water Polo Association, or Quebec Water Polo Association) are members of Water Polo Canada and pay a yearly registration fee to Water Polo Canada. Provincial water polo associations in turn charge each player, officials, and coaches a registration fee.
In order to play each player must be registered with his or her provincial sports organization. Provincial Organizations set their own fee structure. For example, in BC to play in BC only each player pays CA$25.00. As soon as you play outside the province then you pay $30.00. For more information, go the Water Polo Canada webpage.
Europe, Oceania, Asia, and South America: Requirements vary widely depending on the country. Contact your local governing body. FINA has a directory if you do not know a contact point.
Build it and they will come.
Advertise a beginners’ clinic, post notices at the local swim practices (gay and straight), get it out in the local rags. Most communities have free bulletin boards for non-profit organizations. Realize you may have a few players with experience and a lot of players with no experience. It may take you months to find (or train) a goalie. It may be frustrating.
My advice is, try and find a real coach (there a number of gay and gay-friendly ones out there) if you can. That way you can be a player and not worry about planning fun practices that will challenge advanced players yet not leave the new players in the gutter.
Many polo teams share pool time with their local gay swim team. This can work if your facility is big enough. For example, you can hold practices in a diving well if needed. In addition to saving money, holding simultaneous practices keeps the swimmers thinking about us polo players. Occasionally, one will wander over and give us a try. That may be a good way to start until you get enough players for separate practices.
Monthly fee structures vary depending on teams, costs and fundraising. They vary from US$15 to US$35.
Like swim teams, U.S. IGLA water polo teams should consider applying to the Internal Revenue Service for non-profit 501(c)(3) status. In addition to making your team eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, the organization will not be liable to pay federal or state income taxes. Canadian, European and Oceania teams face different non-profit and tax laws. We recommend you become familiar with your national rules.
Fundraising and Finances
The Washington D.C. Wetskins, like two or three other polo teams, are financially independent of their sister swim teams. The Wetskins have about a $12,000 annual budget. Monthly dues ($25) do not pay the teams expenses; instead, the team raises much of the funds though activities like a silent auction, raffle of a trip to a circuit party on Fire Island, and yard sales.
Other teams have different fee structures and budgets. Ask around to other IGLA members to see what different options there are. New polo teams may want to maintain close financial ties to the swim teams in their cities; some teams are heavily subsidized by these teams.
IGLA water polo teams must meet two requirements — pay IGLA dues and be in good standing with their national governing body. Generally this means that your team (and athletes) is registered with US Water Polo, Canada Water Polo or a similarly FINA-recognized body.
IGLA also has a water polo e-mail list to make it easier to keep in contact with other players. Here, we post information about tournaments, rule changes, and any other information that might be useful. Subscribe by going to E-Mail Lists and following the directions there. You want to subscribe to the list called “water polo.”