South Kitsap adds water polo

South Kitsap Community Pool is about to get busier.

Ed Santos, athletic director for the South Kitsap School District, said the high-school athletics program will increase to add boys and girls water-polo teams during the upcoming school year.

“It’s just about more opportunities for kids,” Santos said. “We’re excited.”

The boys team will compete in the fall, while the girls program will run during spring. That enables the school to avoid an overlap with the swim teams, which compete in fall (girls) and winter (boys).

“If you get a bunch of kids playing water polo — those boys, especially — they have a season of fitness before they come into their swim season,” Santos said.

Water polo long has been offered as a club sport at high schools in the area, such as Bainbridge and Curtis. But this is the first time South Kitsap will field a team. Santos said SKSD administrators and coaches have discussed adding water polo in the past.

He said the district was ready to add a sport at the high school and water polo was selected for multiple reasons, including student interest. Santos secured a stipend from the South Kitsap Coaches Association to hire coaches for both teams.

“We’ll run it just like a [sanctioned] sport,” Santos said.

While water polo is not a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association sanctioned sport, Santos thinks that could change.

“Some folks are just going to have to write an amendment,” he said. “Hopefully, we can push it through.”

A water-polo team consists of seven players, including a goalkeeper, in the water at once. The game features four quarters where players attempt to score by throwing the ball into the opponent’s net.

The Class 4A Narrows League does not offer water polo, which means South likely will play a variety of opponents. For example, Curtis competes against local schools, such as Emerald Ridge and Lakes, but also travels to play teams outside the area.

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