Arts and Entertainment

Fireballs bring water polo opportunities to Vashon

The Vashon Fireballs, a new water polo team, will begin its summer program next week.

Island youth of all ages are invited to participate in Splashball for ages 6 to 9, Junior Fireball for ages 10 to 13, or Senior Fireball for ages 13 and up, in an eight-week program designed to teach game understanding and skills, build stamina and technique, and have fun in the water. Practices are set to begin Tuesday, June 24 at the Vashon Pool.

Water polo has steadily been gaining awareness and popularity in the United States as both a competitive sport and a recreational game that promotes fitness and cross-training opportunities.

Vashon Seals, an island swim team, offered an introduction to water polo as part of their swim programs last summer. The sessions were so well received that the team decided to launch the Vashon Fireballs as an official USA Water Polo team this summer. The Fireballs will be coached by Lisa MacLeod and Randy Turner. Both are certified USA Water Polo coaches who received training from Dante Dettamanti, Stanford’s veteran coach. Turner also played club water polo at the University of Oregon.

MacLeod said she is excited to expand the program.

“Whatever else kids do, (they) can play water polo, and it’s an ideal time to support the Vashon Pool with our new program,” she said.

With both Splashball  — a program designed to introduce the sport to children in a recreational format — and water polo it is the coaches’ aim to develop the full athlete, MacLeod noted.

“Both Randy and I want each swimmer to walk on deck ready to have fun and leave with a feeling of accomplishment,” she said. “We expect players to bring their best selves forward, challenge their preconceptions about what they are capable of and take these ideas away with them at the end of the day.”

Middle school teacher Patty Gregorich had praise for the program.

“My daughter was not on a swim team, so it was a stretch for her to step into a new sport. She was gently challenged and learned so much about herself — what she is capable of — and made new friends while getting fit and strong. We loved the support from the other families and the coaches and she built up so much confidence that she joined the Seals in the fall.”

For more information about the programs offered by Vashon Fireballs and to register for summer 2014 sessions, visit

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