USA Women’s Water Polo Team donates lane course to county

A gift from the USA Women’s Water Polo Team could result in the County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation implementing a youth water polo program on the Big Island.

The nonprofit organization, based in California, donated its water polo lane course, valued at $5,500, to the county for the Kona Community Aquatic Center. The Hawaii County Council Finance Committee Tuesday gave the donation a favorable recommendation, sending it to the full council for approval.

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The USA Women’s Water Polo Team, which operates under charter of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, held a 10-day training camp in early March in preparation for the upcoming 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Because Hawaii County doesn’t have its own water polo lane lines, the 18-member women’s team brought its own.

“They shipped one over and it was their intent to leave it is on island so we can further youth programming for the sport on island,” said Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Michelle Hirashi.

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Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas commended the donation, noting her daughter plays water polo, and it’s always a “struggle to get the right equipment.”

“Thank you for facilitating that, especially with the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus. I’ve heard fantastic things about your work with the community there and the youth wanting to witness that greatness in water polo and also to have facilitated an incredible resource,” Villegas said.