Feb 25 2009 Posted: 00:00 GMT
The first major competition to be held at NUI Galway's new 25 metre pool takes place this Friday and Saturday as the University hosts the Irish Water Polo Intervarsities. Some 100 athletes, representing up to ten third-level institutions from across the country, will participate. NUI Galway' Swimming and Water Polo Club have won the men's title four times and competition is expected to be fierce in what is known to be a great spectator sport. Water polo is the oldest Olympic team sport having been contested continuously at every modern Olympic Games since Paris 1900. An extremely demanding and physical sport, players may swim the equivalent of up to five kilometres in a singe game. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the bottom of the pool while the rest of the players risk a foul if they do so. Kathy Hynes, Development Officer for Clubs and Participation at NUI Galway, has noted the growing interest in pool sports: "At NUI Galway, swimming and water polo have always been very strong, with very dedicated and talented club members. With the opening of the Sports Centre there has been a surge of interest in all water sports. The new pool provides an ideal opportunity for all students and staff to learn the lifelong skill of swimming. We are proud to host other universities at our state-of-the-art facilities". The six-lane pool at NUI Galway is equipped with a moveable floor, which can be adjusted to provide a perfect setting for various pool sports including water polo, kayaking or sub-aqua training. According to Kathy Hynes, "This is an exciting time for all involved in aquatic sport at NUI Galway. A Swimming Gala, which will hopefully become an annual event in the University calendar, is currently being planned by the Swimming and Water Polo Club". The Intervarsities will begin on Friday afternoon, 27 February, with the finals scheduled for Saturday evening. Kathy Hynes added: "Onlookers will be guaranteed a memorable few hours, as the competitors this year are of a particularly high standard". For more information on the event, email email@example.com.