The 19th annual Valentines International Water Polo Tournament hosted by our good friends Saanich Water Polo School was a tremendous success for all athletes, coaches, officials and parent volunteers. But especially for the Fraser Valley Water Polo club, who travelled to the island en masse; a staggering nine teams comprised of 65 athletes, competed in eight different categories, playing 48 games in three days. If you're not a numbers person - that's a lot of polo.
Valley’s teams finished extremely well, especially considering the long days and the sheer number of athletes playing on multiple rosters. It wasn’t uncommon for some kids to play upwards of seven games in a day – often playing tripleheader matches across three age categories. With all of the FV teams competing, there was rarely a moment when a Fraser Valley team
wasn’t playing in one of the four pools.
But beyond the results, the 19th edition of the Valentines International offered an important chance for Valley’s athletes to connect across generational lines. Our graduating senior athletes, some playing in this tournament for the 6th or 7th time, were frequently spotted sitting alongside the youngest Valley athletes to watch games and swap polo stories. Team benches during games frequently featured a mashup of Valley athletes, coaches and supporters, while the Open category had our U19 boys playing alongside their coach, Cole Wagner.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Valley came home on the ferry with plenty of hardware. The Valley Geckos, representing Valley’s future all-stars, claimed gold in the U12 category, as did the U16 girls team. The U19 men also won their category, despite a roster filled with U16 players (who played in three categories). All other Valley teams finished in the top three as well, meaning Valley collected medals in all eight categories.
Full results from the tournament can be found by visiting the Saanich Water Polo School Facebook page. There you will also find plenty more photos courtesy of Andrew Dyk and SWPS. A huge thank you to all the parents, athletes and coaches who helped make this weekend such a fantastic experience for all of our athletes.
All photos in this story courtesy of Cole Wagner, Karen Bennett, Andrew Dyk, and the Saanich Water Polo School.
U14 Girls: Bronze
U14 Boys: Silver (Fraser Valley White), 6th (Fraser Valley Black)
U16 Boys: Bronze
U16 Girls: Gold
U19 Girls: Bronze
U19 Men: Gold