Teams from all across the North Island have descended on the Baywave Aquatic Centre in Arataki for the Tauranga Under-12 Easter Water Polo Tournament.
Hosted by Tauranga Water Polo, 25 mixed teams will battle it out in the pool across three divisions over the course of the three-day tournament which started today and wraps up on Monday.
Organiser Kellie Low says two pools will be in action during the tournament which is going swimmingly.
“We have seven teams from the Tauranga club competing this week, a number of Auckland clubs which includes the Atlantis City Water Polo and Aquatic Club which is brand new and they've brought three teams to compete in their very first tournament.”
In total, there's about 90 round robin matches which will take place today and on Sunday, with the finals set to take place on Monday. The tournament starts daily at 9am.
Each match lasts 20 minutes and played in a pool roughly 1.8m deep, meaning the young athletes need a tremendous amount of fitness, says Kellie.
“The Tauranga teams only have one, one hour training session a week for water polo. The kids in the better teams tend to be doing swim squad as well, but that's an independent activity for them.”
Kellie says water polo is gaining popularity with local children, and the Tauranga Water Polo club has experienced huge growth since it was established in 2002.
“When the club was first established in 2002 we didn't have man teams because there wasn't a deep water facility in Tauranga until the polytechnic pool was built, followed by Baywave.
“I got involved about nine years ago and there were probably three teams, but the club's grown hugely the last five years and now we're up to nine teams.”
Atlantis Navy player Caitlin Tran, 11, reaches for the ball.
Phoebe Hoskin, 12, from Tauranga Storm grabbing the ball.