Pool to burst into life with junior state tournament

ONCE again the best junior water polo players in the state will be journeying to the Bathurst Aquatic Centre in summer.

Just one year after Bathurst played host to the Under 14s Girls NSW Water Polo Championships the city will now welcome the Under 16s boys to the pool.

ACTION IN THE POOL: The Under 16s Boys Water Polo State Championships will be held in Bathurst, starting Saturday, after the Under 1s Girls tournament (pictured) was held in the city last year. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

ACTION IN THE POOL: The Under 16s Boys Water Polo State Championships will be held in Bathurst, starting Saturday, after the Under 1s Girls tournament (pictured) was held in the city last year. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

Water Polo NSW Events Coordinator Ethan Rogers said the boys under 16s age group has always been a hotly contested competition at the state level.

“Taking these tournaments out to the Central West has been something we’ve been focused on,” he said.

“By taking the State Championships to Bathurst that’s five days of over 200 people coming to the town. That helps to generate a lot of interest in the sport.

“Bringing the championships to the Central West is something we began to look at about four years ago. We almost came to Bathurst three years ago before we were able to come last year.

“We have around half of the current Australian team from NSW. Under 16s is also one of the biggest championships in terms of numbers, which makes it the premier tournament in the junior age groups.”

The Bathurst event will run a championship and plate (division A) plus a cup (division B) competition.

Nineteen teams have been entered across the two divisions.

It’s the university based squads who are expected to be the biggest threats in the top division.

Top three seeded teams Sydney University Lions Blue, ACU Cronulla Sharks Blue and UNSW Wests Magpies Black will be hard to stop in their respective pools.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get a Bathurst team together but that’s something we’ll be trying to do again in the future,” Rogers said.

It’s not just Bathurst who will be enjoying state championships in their pool this month, with other Central West centres getting in on the action.

Over the 18th to 22nd of December Orange and Dubbo will play host to the Under 14s boys and girls championships respectively.

The Bathurst event gets underway this Saturday morning from 8am.

The division A gold medal match will take place Tuesday 3.40pm.