Water Polo Club set to enjoy new aquatic centre

A simple advertisement in the local newspaper has led to the establishment of a regional water polo club which is being driven by a passionate group of water polo enthusiasts including a former Olympic referee.

Steve Knights played water polo for New Zealand for 16 years, and attended seven World Championships, culminating in refereeing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He moved to Hawke’s Bay about five years ago and thought that his life-long involvement in the sport had come to an end.  However, a friend from Wellington saw an advert placed in HB Today by Sir Graeme Avery seeking community interest in establishing water polo at the new Indoor Aquatic Facility.  “I didn’t see the advert, a friend from Wellington did and she got in touch with me. I thought my days of being involved in the sport were over.”

Steve knew Sir Graeme from their days at the AUT Millennium Institute of Sport on Auckland’s North Shore, where Steve had been involved in progressing the sport. “In our eyes, (the wider water polo community) Sir Graeme is a living legend, and when I knew that he was involved in the development, I knew this new world class aquatic centre would be something quite exceptional.” Steve did have other connections as well, so it was highly likely he was going to be involved in some way.

Now, Steve and a small team have formed an incorporated society, and will launch water polo this summer, firstly at Flaxmere Water World and then next year from the new Aquatic Centre. “It’s a fun sport and while developing swimming skills, it gives athletes a terrific water awareness in a team environment. Our enthusiastic committee are very excited to see young players having a go.”

The club will begin at primary school level first, before moving through to secondary school and senior competitive and social grades. An open weekend for primary schools will be held on 14 November at Flaxmere Water world.

“We are very excited about growing water polo in Hawke’s Bay. We have an enthusiastic crew involved and we’re very confident that water polo will explode in participation. Water polo can be played all year round and once completed we will be based at the new indoor aquatic centre. Our ultimate goal is to have a pathway for anyone who might like to play at any level or ability.”

As well as helping set up the club, Steve will coach the coaches and referees and maybe jump back in the pool when a social league starts up.

For further interest please email our team at [email protected]