Water polo coming to Harlingen school district
HARLINGEN — So, you love swimming but you’re just not fast enough.
Since speed is everything, why bother, right?
The Harlingen school district is implementing a new water polo program to give young swimmers greater opportunities to excel at the sport they love.
“ Water polo may be the thing where they shine,” said Sandra Flinn, aquatics coordinator for the school district.
“ Maybe we have some kids that don’t qualify for a regional or state meet, but they might make a big impact in the pool at water polo,” she said. “So they get to stay in a sport they love. The way we view it, why would we not give our students another opportunity?”
High school swimmers in Harlingen have been playing water polo in the off season for quite some time, Flinn said. However, it may soon become a UIL certified sport. USA Water Polo has been working for about five years to make that happen.
“ It’s looking like that’s going to happen in 2021 with a pilot program,” Flinn said. “We want to get a jumpstart for starting a program for HCISD.”
Flinn explained that in water polo, two teams are made of seven swimmers.
“ You have a goalie and then the other six kids are basically playing the field,” she said. “It’s kind of set up like soccer. There are four quarters and the quarters last about six minutes with little breaks in between.”
There’s also a five-minute half time.
“ Our kids really just play water polo in the off season,” she said. “They don’t compete. Our plan is this year to actually create, see what our interest is.”
The goal, she said, is to have a water polo team from Harlingen South and Harlingen High School. However, the district may start off with a single team made of students from both high schools and then work from there.
“ There’s some training that goes on and the kids need to learn the rules and things like that,” she said. “But water polo is a really competitive sport. It’s not a really collision sport but it is a contact sport and you really have to have strong swimming skills.”
Flinn said the district will begin recruiting swimmers from the school district in February after the swimming season is over.