Photos courtesy of Lisa Donaldson.

The first venture for our WAVE Ambassadors took place this past Sunday morning in Perth. Our hosts, Coach Anne and her Stingrays, came out to train with WAVE and to learn more about the sport that we all love – water polo.

Coach Anne led the swimming portion of our training session and pushed the swimmers beyond their comfort zone in a energetic set that finished with a SALMON RUN. Now, all of our swimmers know about this fun event and we’ve introduced it to our regular practices with much success! Thank you Anne!

After the 45 minute swim, WAVE Coaches Fraser and Mickey, along with our athletes, introduced water polo strokes to the Perth swimmers. The Stingrays were introduced to head-up front crawl, water polo backstroke and trudgeon. The water polo backstroke always brings out the smiles from swimmers as it is such a change from the regular backstroke!

Then the balls and nets came out. WAVE and Stingray athletes were put into groups with each other and started to get familiar with passing and catching the ball. It was great to see the WAVE swimmers help their fellow athletes from Perth and to pass on their training and technique.

Then it was finally time to play.

Coach Mickey introduced the game and the rules to the Perth athletes, the ball was dropped and they were off! Some of the Perth swimmers took to the game right away and were able to swim with the ball in full control, it was great to see. Our WAVE players were able to coach their counterparts from the deck and provide some guidance.

Then the WAVE athletes took to the water. There were some gasps, I kid you not, from the Perth swimmers when they saw the intensity of the game when played by experienced players, but no one headed for the showers. Coach Anne’s water polo experience was instrumental when it came to reassuring her swimmers that it was all for fun!

After a few minutes of postering from WAVE, the teams were mixed for the last 1/2 hour so that both teams could play. The WAVE goalies were not at all generous to our hosts, but that just made the goals scored that much more exciting.

After the game, everyone was beyond tired after the 2.5 hours in the water that seemed to pass by very quickly. A lot was learned for both clubs. The goal for Coach Anne, Coach Fraser and Coach Mickey is to have another session with Perth in the Spring. As coaches we must continually press the message that keeping athletes in the water is essential and that there are always options for aquatic athletes to enjoy the water, be a part of a team and to set and achieve goals in sport.

If you are a swim club in the Eastern Ontario region, please contact to have the WAVE Ambassadors at your practice.