The dynamic sport of WATER POLO arrived in Southwest Florida in 2015, with the formation of the Sun Coast Water Polo Club (SCWPC). SCWPC is the first and only water polo team in southwest Florida and was founded in the fall of 2015, by Coach Jon Baca, at the invitation of of Coach Bruce Patmos, Hurricane Swim Club, and in partnership with the Venice YMCA. This triad of support has allowed youth and adults from Sarasota and Charlotte Counties to experience the newest team sport in town, water polo.
In August 2016, the club hosted four Florida teams at the 1st Annual Puma Polo Scrimmages, held at Venice YMCA. In June 2016, guest coach Coach Ishtvan Csentes, of the Ft Lauderdale Beach Water Polo Club, introduced the 30 participants of the Puma Polo Mini- Camp to European water polo training and skills. SCWPC is making a splash on the local scene as two youth players were invited to attend the 2016 US Water Polo Southeast Zone Olympic Training Camp. GO PUMA POLO! In Spring 2018, influence from the club and its members saw the first expansion of the sport into a local High School. Venice HS had both a Boys and Girls Varsity program. Puma players, such as Robert Obendorf and MJ Bailey were critical nuclei around which many new polo players learned the sport. This summer, SCWP will have as many as 6 players participating in National Junior Olympics. Puma players will augment Miami Riptides as well as Santa Barbara Premier.
Coach Jon Baca
Coach Jon Baca, a US Navy veteran and recent transplant to Sarasota County, is a former college club water polo player and coach. He began his coaching career in 1979, and is the founder of the University of New Mexico Men’s Water Polo Club. Baca coached at the US Water Polo Junior National Development Camp at the Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO., and was assistant men’s water polo coach at George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Coach Baca has coached all levels of competitive swimming from summer league youth teams, to master’s teams, and is a certified American Swim Coach Association coach. As an athlete, Baca, still holds several US Master’s Swimming National Top Ten records. Commander Baca retired from the USN in 2013, after serving as a Naval aviator for 28 years.
PLAY PUMA POLO
The Sun Coast Water Polo Club wants to get your kids off the couch and into the pool; developing skills, making friends, and doing something they will love for a lifetime. Tired of swimming laps? Try water polo! Water polo is an exciting, competitive, low impact, high energy sport that will promote aerobic and anaerobic fitness. The Sun Coast Water Polo Club future forecast includes development of competitive, age and gender grouped, youth teams ready to compete throughout Florida by the spring 2017, and masters level teams playing recreational scrimmages weekly by the summer 2017. Play Puma Polo!
I play water polo not only because it is a fun sport and good for you, but you also get to meet other people. Water polo is not an easy sport, so the people you meet are hard workers and athletic, which makes for a good crowd outside of the pool, too. Water polo uses every muscle in your body, teaches you to be a power swimmer, endurance water treader, pin point ball thrower and even has elements of wrestling. Overall, I think water polo is a great sport for health, mental clarity and making new friends."Wesley B.
The reasons I play water polo are to have fun and stay fit, but I still don't think of water polo as a recreational sport, I want to get better and maybe make it to the Olympics.
Water polo is amazing because it combines swimming, wrestling and a team sport with a ball tactics. I love being out of breath half the time, but still pushing myself to race on a breakaway towards the other goal. I love talking with my teammates in and out of the water. I also enjoy teaching new players all about the game. Most of all I like meeting new people that we play on teams from all over Florida.
Sun Coast Water Polo fills a great need locally for a water sport with sporting thrill. My 10-year-old, Vince, was a Club swimmer who was a little bored of lap swimming. Water Polo combines all that great exercise as well as a ball-sport challenge and team camaraderie. I highly recommend it.
When I asked why I play water polo my answer is why not? There are so many reasons why I love this sport. One of the reasons being the social aspect. Even though as teammates we may get competitive or yell at each other during a game in the end we are a family and we are there for each other. I started playing water polo the summer of 2015 with my swim coach, coach baca. Every day after swim practice we would try to play water polo. That became the main reason I even came to swim practice for awhile. I remember talking to coach baca after swim practice and saying "what if we had a water polo team" that "what if" became a reality and I am proud to be a part of it. Four nights a week for two hours may seem like a lot of dedication that some aren't willing to commit to. But those four nights are the highlight of my week. I see them as a way to become a stronger, better, and more fierce competitor. This is WHY I play water polo and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I like to play water polo because I swim and dive, too. I love being around the water. Water polo is a more social sport than swimming, but just as physical. I get to play with a lot of amazing people of all ages.
Water polo is an awesome sport! I like playing defense the best. I have to swim hard to keep the other team from scoring. Coach Baca is very nice and has taught me a lot. I like my teammates too.
I love water polo because it gives me a chance to relieve the stress of the day. It combines the intensity of a contact sport like football or rugby with the pool and a bit less getting hurt. It’s wonderful if you’re bored of swimming and need just a bit more because it combines swimming with the elements of a team sport. It really helps develop the “working with other people” neurons and really emphasizes teamwork. Most colleges have this sport and if you don’t want to run and hate sweating, then this is the sport for you.