VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WTKR)- If you stop by the Bayside Recreational Center, you may find the Virginia Beach Water Polo League hitting the pool, in what some will tell you is the fastest growing sport in America.
About 45 student-athletes from four different Virginia Beach high schools are taking part in the 2021 season. Ocean Lakes, Floyd Kellam, Frank Cox and Princess Anne are all fielding teams this year and will share the water for practice.
Two of the athletes say this is the best sport in which they've ever participated.
"I think it's really cool because it incorporates a lot of different aspects of different sports," said Princess Anne senior Brett Sill. "It obviously has the swimming part and then I think it's kind of a combination of basketball and soccer in the water, too."
"It is pretty intense," added senior Kylie Sill. "You have to tread water, throw and catch with one hand, and then play offense and defense as you swim up and down the pool. It is physically demanding, but it's so much fun, it's completely worth it."
Brett and Kylie are twins playing on a co-ed team.
"The girls can definitely hold their own in the pool," Brett noted. "It's kind of nice because in the pool, size doesn't matter as much. Everyone's like that tall in the water."
"It really helps me grow as an individual and learn how to play against different types of people," pointed out Kylie. "I'm able to play against guys who are stronger than me or faster than me."
Of course, the object of the game is to put the ball in the back of the net. That's not as easy as it looks when one factors in the physical demands of the sport and a defense on the other side, but it's Brett's favorite thing to do.
"I look shooting from outside," he said. "I guess kind of like Steph Curry in basketball, except there's less finesse and more power."
For the Sills, water polo is a family affair. Their father, Joshua, is also their coach.
"I like having him there," said Kylie. "He's very supportive and also he's not afraid to tell me what I need to work on or what I need to do better."
This marks the second year for Virginia Beach Water Polo. Only two teams made up the league during the first season, but it doubled in size for 2021. Going forward, coaches expect it to grow even more.
"We've got kids from eight or nine different high schools in the Beach District that are interested in playing," noted the elder Sill. "We're trying to grow the sport and trying to start it up in all the schools in Virginia Beach."
If you're interested in playing or learning more about the league, visit here.
If you have a nominee for our Esprit Decor Student-Athlete of the Week, send an e-mail to email@example.com.