The ‘toughest sport in the world’ is looking for more players in Weston-super-Mare

Water polo – a sport many of us have heard of but few have dared to try.

Players need to have strength, stamina and determination to win as they tread water for a match lasting over an hour and score points against their opponents.

And it’s a sport that has not got as many women playing at Weston-super-Mare’s water polo club.

The team are looking to boost the number of women in their squad and recruit more junior players.

“We’ve had rugby players who’ve tried it and decided it’s too rough. Basically you’re not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool during a game.”

The club hosts mini polo, junior polo, men and women senior teams. Credit: ITV West Country

“It is the toughest sport in the world,” says chief coach Mike Coles.

It is physically demanding, but players tell us it’s extremely rewarding and fun to play.

“It’s really good for fitness,” says Lizzie O’Connor, who’s been playing for many years but joined the club two months ago.

“I just love being in the pool and I really like the fact that we play mixed here at training.”

Katie Hutchings started playing after seeing the team train after her swimming sessions.

The club’s Ladies Water Polo Side, taken at Knightstone Pool, 1993. Credit: Weston-super-Mare Water Polo Section

“We would swim till 9 and the water polo would get in at 9 and one day they said ‘why don’t you just stay and try it out’ and I didn’t look back really.”

The Weston-super-Mare club began in 1880 and they have a history of success, most notably with Wales’ successful Olympian Paulo Radmilovic.

“Raddy is well known in the town. He passed away in 1968. There have been other Olympians and we’d like to get some more up there.”

The Welsh player amassed four gold medals during his time living and training in the seaside town.

Weston-super-Mare Swimming Club in 1908, including Paulo Radmilovic (centre), with the Henry Benjamin Trophy Credit: Weston-super-Mare Water Polo Section

The water polo club spent two years out of the water thanks to the pandemic but members are now focusing on building up their women’s and junior teams.

Lily-Rose Baker, 12, is one of those hoping to make it all the way to the top, she said “I would definitely want to play this sport professionally because it is just really interesting and it’s exercise at the same time.”

Competitive games start in March and anyone interested in joining the team is asked to contact Weston-super-Mare Swimming & Water Polo Club.


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