Pan Pacific water polo event wraps up
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 6:48p.m.
By Greg Pearson
An expression in water polo is that teams are tighter than their togs.
But at the Pan Pacific Youth Festival, which wraps up in Auckland tonight, there were players a lot more open to learning from others than that old saying suggests.
With more than 130 teams and 2500 players, the Pan Pacific Water Polo Festival is the biggest water polo event in the Southern Hemisphere.
And for Californian Club Corona Del Mar, it's an easy decision to keep coming back.
“We feel like we get a better game experience, a better team experience,” says Corona del Mar coach Barry O’Dea. “You can't get better than playing in facilities like this. It's an Olympic-style event with opening and closing ceremonies, with a pretty good crowd. The whole thing is put on in such a classy way. The boys enjoy it. I think it’s a great experience for these young guys and they get something out of it.”
Competing against international opposition provides a welcome break for the local players.
“It has been pretty cool, because in New Zealand we only play against our own club teams,” says Marist under-18 water polo player Matthew Lewis. “So to get a mix of different international players has been a good experience for myself and the rest of my players.”
It's also good build up for Lewis and other members of the national under-18 team ahead of the first Youth World Championships in December.
A good showing there could attract even more international teams to the Pan Pacifics.
“It's getting too big actually,” says tournament director Chris Hayward. “We've got five different venues this time, which is stretching our resources a long way, so hopefully we'll have an extra venue in Auckland to have a bigger tournament and attract even more teams.”
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