Calgary Water Polo History
Written by Administrator
Monday, 27 June 2011 13:43

In the 1960's a club was apparently operated out of Happy Valley.  It was made up mostly of Hungarian who fled Hungary during the 1956 revolution.  They reportedly finished 3rd at Senior Men's Nationals.

Water polo clubs have had a number of growth initiatives through the decades.

  • In 1971 a water polo club started at the Central YMCA under the leadership of Ivan Somlai.
  • In 1973, the YMCA Club combined with the newly formed Glencoe Water Polo Club to form the Calgary Water Polo Club out of Mount Royal College's new pool (under Ray Brett and Ivan Somlai).
  • In 1974, the University of Calgary Water Polo Club was founded by Brian Shockey and Robin Routledge
  • In 1975, these two clubs combined and trained out of the University of Calgary.
  • The Torpedoes Water Polo Club was formed by Gord Graham and John Csikos in 1980 and trained at the Inglewood Pool.
  • In 1982, the Torpedoes Club annexed the University of Calgary Club and made the University of Calgary home.
  • The Calgary Renegades Water Polo Club was founded by John Csikos in 1985 and made Lindsay Park it's home.  At this time the Torpedo Club was flourishing under Abdi Madjpour.  Water polo became a six-day occurrence in a first class facility, keeping a vague resemblance of the roots laid down in 1971 by Ivan Somlai, past aquatic director, of the now defunct Central YMCA.
  • When the Torpedoes Club was faltering in 1992, it was taken under the wings of the Renegade Club.

The Calgary Renegades Water Polo club was founded by John Csikos in 1985.  The original members of the club were:  Corey Meyer, Cal Meyer, Chris Garwah, Mark Garwah, Jerry Smuszko, Rob Cameron, Warren Hedges, Kurtis Lesick, Shawn Eden and others. With the growing popularity of the sport and the merger of the teams, by 1985, the Calgary Renegades had their first viable age group women's water polo team. The club has expanded in numbers yearly and now is able to send both men and women's teams in every age group to Nationals each year.

In 2003, the Renegade Club split into two groups: The Calgary Renegades Water Polo Club (female athletes) and the Calgary Torpedo Water Polo Club (male athletes).

Atom aged kids (under 12) became increasing organized and better coached in the late 1990's and early 2000's. By 2003, the CMWPL (Calgary Minor Water Polo League) was also formed to provide water polo for the atom aged athletes (under the age of 12) . Two new atom clubs formed: Calgary Farmers and Calgary Lion Cubs under the umbrella of Calgary Water Polo and supported by both the Renegades and Torpedo clubs.

In the late 1990's, Calgary became the national training centre for the men's national team.  The team is centralized all year long, and its members train out of the Talisman Centre.  This group does not fall under the auspices of Calgary Water Polo, but the team provides a presence and inspiration to water polo enthusiasts in Calgary.

In 2007, Calgary Water Polo Association was formed to develop league play in Calgary area, and provide short term and medium term initiatives.  At the same time, 3 new Regional Clubs were formed - Calgary Mako, Calgary Wild, and Calgary Seawolves.  As well, the Prairei Dolphins from High River/ Okotoks were included in the region's league play.  The Calgary Torpedoes and Calgary Renegades moved to becoming more focussed on being high performance clubs, and now draw their athletes from these regional clubs.

Currently, there are new clubs in formative stages in the Calgary area, including Airdrie and Canmore.

Water Polo in Canada

Enthusiastic members of Canadian boating and swimming clubs started to popularize water polo in 1896.  The first official water polo tournament in Canada was sponsored by the Montreal Aquatic Club and was played in 1887.

In 1909, an Ontario Water Polo League was formed by eastern universities.  The earliest report of women playing water polo was in 1920, when the Toronto Ladies' Swimming Club started a program.

The first Dominion Water Polo Championships for Junior men, won by the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association Water Polo Club was held in 1927.  The Canadian Water Polo Association, now known as Water Polo Canada was formed in 1956.  The Canadian Water Polo League was formed in 1981.

The first makeshift water polo contests were played in Great Britain in the 1860's.  The purpose of the game was to provide swimmers with a new, unique contest.  The Bon Accord Club, a private men's swimming club, from Aberdeen Scotland began the game on the banks of the rivers Dee and Don  The objective of the game was to swim or carry an inflated pig's bladder through the defense to the opposite bank.   However it wasn't until 1885 that the English National Swimming Association officially recognized water polo as a separate sport requiring games to be played in accordance with one set to rules.  Interest in the emerging sport then spread around the world.

Water polo was the first team sport to be included as an Olympic sport.  Water polo was introduced in the Olympics as an exhibition sport for men in 1900.  The game was given permanent status at the 1908 Olympics in London.

The sport is governed by FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation), which is the governing body for all water sports (water polo, swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming. All international matches since then have been played under rules as amended by FINA.

Canada sent its first men's water polo team to the Olympics in Munich in 1972.  Women's water polo became an Olympic sport in 2000 and the Canadian women qualified to go to Australia.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 19:15