USA Water Polo is currently leading the charge in becoming the biggest and the best run federation in the world, and their CEO, Chris Ramsey, was the latest guest to join us on the Total Water Polo Podcast to discuss
On our insightful episode, which you can watch on Youtube or listen to on the go via Spotify, Ramsey talks all-things water polo from the USA, including: his tenure, his vision for the future, the performance of the national teams as well as the LA Olympics in 2028.
A key portion of the show addresses how Ramsey and USAWP have grown the sport in the US. “We have a mission statement at USAWP; to win medals at international competitions and to grow the sport,” Ramsey told us. Water polo is thriving in California, but the strategy now is to grow in bigger markets across the country:
“We made a decision, specifically, to go into Texas seven years ago. We put a full time person there, we lobbied the UIL and the swim coaches. But it took seven years for that decision to pay off and get adopted. Our federation has about 400 clubs, so as we add another few hundred clubs, it vastly changes the equation for growth in the country.”
The decision to mass has paid off, with the growth rate outside of California currently sitting at 14%. Encouragingly, the growth is significant at the grassroots and junior levels. Ramsey believes that amongst other benefits, that clubs will gain financially from growth in this area:
“Our highest levels of growth are at U10 and U12. If you look at clubs as a business model, we have tried to help our clubs understand that being competitive at a high level but what really pays the rent is building a community programme that has broad participation.”
But he continues to add that a focus on making the sport enjoyable is the biggest factor in boosting growth:
“The sport brings families together in a very special way. When kids get in and play water polo they love it. So part of our philosophy is to get them in the pool at a very young age, and focus on making it fun for them and the rest will start to take care of itself. That’s been a big focus of change for us.”
“I feel nobody in America should end up having gone through their educational life without at least having tried water polo.” Ramsey says. “But the reality is, in countries all over the world, a lot of people never try it, and are never exposed to it.”
Find all episodes of the Total Waterpolo Podcast here
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