The City of Menlo Park’s Belle Haven Pool and Menlo Swim and Sport’s Mavericks Water Polo Team played host to the USA Water Polo Junior Olympic Championships
. The event consisted of eight full days of competition which included approximately 120 teams consisting of 10-15 youth competitors per team or nearly 1,600 in total. In addition to the competing youth, the event was expected to attract approximately 3,000 spectators to the area.
The USA Water Polo Junior Olympic Championships is the largest age group water polo tournament in the United States. Athletes come from across the country to compete on the national stage. The Junior Olympics Tournament consists of two divisions, the Championship Division and the Classic Division. Teams compete over a four-day period within their respective age category. The tournament continues to grow in size. In 2012, there were 549 teams, 8047 athletes, 600 coaches, and 2173 total games played over eight days.
The Menlo Mavericks Water Polo Team values participation in the Junior Olympics for a several reasons. First, it’s a select group of teams which earn the right to compete in the National Junior Olympics based upon their finish in their regional zone’s qualifying tournament. Secondly, this tournament offers youth athletes a chance to meet teams from across country. Lastly, it provides a benchmark for determining how the athletes are progressing in terms of skills and team play.
The event is held every two years and Menlo Swim is looking forward to the opportunity to host future Junior Olympics events in the years to come. Community Services appreciates the support received from the Police and Public Works departments in managing the traffic and parking challenges that this event brought to an already active Onetta Harris campus.