Growing Youth Water Polo in Jacksonville and Beyond
Jacksonville Water Polo Club is committed to helping foster the growth of water polo in Jacksonville, Northeast Florida and beyond.
The sport of water polo is quickly becoming hotter than the water it’s played in. USA Water Polo and the National Federation of High School Association are reporting the sport is now one of the fastest growing sports with an all-time high in membership.
In 2023, Jacksonville Water Polo Club extended our role to provide a team not only for masters players, but also to kids from the ages of 9 up to 18.
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In 2018, Walt Bartman launched youth water polo in Jacksonville, FL. Walt moved to Jacksonville from the Washington, DC area where he coached water polo. Under Walt’s guidance, youth water polo in northeast Florida finally had a stable program. The team practiced at Timuquana Country Club and built a strong relationship with Gator Water Polo Club out of Gainesville. The 2 clubs traveled to scrimmaged one another and combined during tournaments to field full teams to compete with other teams in Florida and beyond.
In 2016, masters team member, Andy Sichet, launched the Jax Polo Bears. The team was practicing at the Bolles pool and beginning to gather some momentum. Unfortunately, due to a new company and lack of anyone to carry the torch, the program ended in early 2017. Although the program did not materialize, it proved there was a demand for youth water polo in northeast Florida.
In 2012, Jacksonville Water Polo Club in conjunction with USA Water Polo hosted a series of water polo clinics. Our first clinic drew 15 kids. We were excited to grow the youth program at UNF, but unfortunately UNF decided to close their pool. The closure of the UNF aquatic center placed a pause on our youth water program aspirations, but not for long.