BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The rise of water polo for boys and girls continues across the nation according to a study released by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
The NFHS compared the number of athletes competing in a sport from the 2008-2009 academic year versus 2018-2019 and found water polo to be among the fastest growing sports in the nation.
For boys, water polo participation among high school athletes (excluding athletes that exclusively compete on a club team), water polo experienced an 8.8% increase with 20,650 athletes competing in 2009 compared to 22,475 this year. The percentage increase rates eighth among all sports as volleyball (28.8%), lacrosse (28.3%), fencing (24.9%), cross country skiing (24.6%), soccer (19.6%), indoor track & field (18.0%) and cross country (16.4%) experienced larger rises.
Girls’ water polo experienced a more significant percentage change as the sport is tied with indoor track & field for the third largest increase at 18.0%. Rising from 18,418 athletes in 2009 to 21,735 competitors in 2019, girls’ water polo trails only lacrosse (53.6%) and bowling (18.8%) in terms of growth.