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8

Jun, 2021

Bondurant wants to expose water polo to Oxford

By John Davis

Community Relations Director

 

Matt Bondurant wants to see one of the nation’s fastest growing sports in the nation to become more of a fixture in our community. Water polo may not be as understood as soccer has become, but it’s a sport that can provide huge benefits, and a sport that should appeal to those that are in the pool a lot as competitive swimmers.

“In some countries, like the Czech Republic or other Eastern European countries, water polo is a nationally televised like the NFL is here. It’s very popular,” Bondurant said. “It’s a sport like soccer was 40 years ago or lacrosse was 20 years ago; it’s a sport that the South really hasn’t fully invested in yet. I do think we’re at the door of that, sort of at the threshold.”

Bondurant played water polo three years as an undergraduate and then one more when he went into graduate school because he had a year of eligibility remaining. After college, he played on a club team in northern Virginia for three to four years.

“Since that time, it’s been very sporadic,” Bondurant said. “I have always been in masters swimming and I swim long distance so I do maintain an interest in water sports. I’ve always wanted to get my kids interested in water polo.”

His interest in getting his children involved in water polo is one of the reasons he teamed up with the OPC to create the skills clinic at the city pool this summer. For those that aren’t familiar with water polo, Bondurant said it was somewhat akin to hockey, soccer, and basketball. There are a lot of substitutions involved due to the high intensity, high action involved with treading water and swimming.

“It is a physically demanding sport and like basketball where you are out guarding people and trying to get past them,” Bondurant said. “Water polo is a great way to stay in shape. A lot of girls, in my experience, tend to like co-ed water polo as it gives them a chance to push the boys around or if the girls are fast, they can beat the boys and get past them.”

Bondurant said for kids that have been swimming competitively their whole life, essentially an individual sport, water polo is a great way to enjoy a team sport for a change that immediately rewards them for their swimming skills.

 “In swimming you’re racing against yourself or racing against the clock,” Bondurant said. “I think that’s why a lot of swim teams play water polo for fun or a break because it’s about team bonding. It gives you a chance to play with friends and toss the ball around. But it relies on the very skills you have been honing all these years as a swimmer. You have this great advantage. A lot of swimmers will get in there and they will immediately feel somewhat competent.”

The age demographic for the upcoming skills clinic is 12 to 18. Bondurant thought swimmers who were in high school who are looking to join a club team in college could find a home with water polo.  Most colleges and universities have active water polo club teams, usually co-ed, and they can be quite popular as the sport continues to grow.

“If you have a student that is in competitive swimming and planning to go to college, this will give them a real leg up on participating in a club sport activity” Bondurant said. “It can help form a center for their college career. It not only helps from the scheduling standpoint but it helps them form friend groups. The science is very clear show that kids that take part in athletics, they tend to do better in their studies and socializing.  This is also a great way to keep your kids active and in shape while they are away at college.”

Another point that Bondurant would like to make about the benefit of playing water polo is that it helps outside of a pool situation.

“Water polo places you in uncomfortable situations sometimes in the water,” Bondurant said. “Other people are trying to stop you.  There is some pushing and pulling and you are exhausted.  It can be a demanding, physical game.  But it’s going to make them safer in the water. I know after playing water polo myself, if a kid can play competitive water polo, this is a kid I feel comfortable sending into the surf down at the beach or out on their friend’s boat.  I think it’s a really great developer for that type of survival skill set.”

 

 

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Oxford Park Commission

396 Price Street 
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 662-232-2379

Contact Us

Oxford Park Commission

396 Price Street 
Oxford, Mississippi 38655

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 662-232-2379

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