ATLANTA, Georgia, February 12. OLYMPIC water polo heads back to Atlanta as several members of the Silver Medal Winning 2008 Men's Olympic Water Polo Team make their way to A-Town February 25-28. Led by Head Coach and four-time Olympian Terry Schroeder, the team is in Atlanta for a series of practices and clinics to prepare for overseas competition in early March. The Georgia Tech Institute of Technology, a site for the 1996 Olympic Games, hosts the team as they prepare for their first official games since they returned the USA to the world's elite this past summer in Beijing, China.
"Our players and coaches look forward to connecting with the water polo community in Atlanta. It is a great opportunity for us all to be together after a great summer but more importantly to begin the process of growing our sport and building from where we left off this summer," Schroeder said.
The visit, organized by Dynamo Water Polo Club, gives Atlanta a chance to meet the athletes as they prepare for international action. Two clinics, on February 25 and 28, are open to boys and girls of all abilities. Please visit http://ghswpa.tripod.com/id11.html and then click "water polo clinic" to register for the clinic. Dynamo Water Polo Club will also host a fundraising reception on the evening of February 27 at the ESPN Zone in Buckhead. Please visit http://www.dynamowaterpolo.com/competitions/mnt.shtml to purchase reception tickets. Lastly, all team training sessions are open to the public free of charge. The Georgia Tech Campus Activity Center hosts all the aquatic activities while the reception is set for
Headlines of the national team schedule in Atlanta include:
WED, FEB 25th: 7-9:30PM – Open Practice*
THURS, FEB 26th: 9AM-12:30PM – Open Practice*
7-9:30PM – High School Clinic*
FRI, FEB 27th: 9AM-12:30PM – Open Practice*
6:30-9:30PM – Fundraiser Reception
SAT, FEB 28th: 8-11:00AM – High School Clinic*
*parking available in visitor lot 3
"From the first discussion, the Georgia Tech CAC staff offered nothing but enthusiasm." explained Stuart Sheldon, Dynamo Water Polo Club athlete and local organizer of the visit. "We just can't thank Georgia Tech enough for all they've done."
While in Atlanta, the team hopes to encourage even more explosive growth of the sport at the high school level. In 2007, four Atlanta-area high schools competed in club water polo. That number almost tripled in 2008, with ten teams from nine schools. Over twenty-five high schools express interest in the Fall 2009 season.
After their stay in Atlanta the team heads to Germany on March 1 for a week of common training with the German national team. From there they move on to Hungary for a four nation tournament that includes Hungary, Serbia, Romania and the USA where a rematch of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games Gold Medal Game with the Hungarians is likely. While overseas the group training in Atlanta will join up with their teammates currently playing professionally in Europe.
For more information on the clinics or to purchase tickets for the fundraiser visit the website of Atlanta's original water polo team, Dynamo Water Polo Club, www.dynamowaterpolo.com and click on the "USWP Reception Info" button.
"The US Men's Olympic Team outstanding performance in Beijing coupled with Atlanta's enthusiasm and growth in age group club water polo, makes for a winning combination. Local athletes and coaches will learn from the some of the greatest water polo players, past and present, that the world has to offer. The US Men's National Team will experience southern hospitality and experience first-hand Atlanta's excitement for water polo," said Liz Grimes, Regional Director of Sport Development-East.
Special thanks to USA Water Polo for contributing this report.