DuPage County

Three USA Water Polo championship events coming to DuPage County

Elite water polo athletes from around the United States will be coming to the FMC Natatorium in Westmont for three USA Water Polo programs. (Courtesy of FMC Natatorium)

The DuPage Sports Commission and FMC Natatorium at Ty Warner Park recently announced another national championship event on its way to DuPage County, signing an agreement with USA Water Polo to host the 2022 and 2024 Kap7 Champions Cup, as well as a 2024 USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program National Championship.

All three events will bring elite water polo athletes from around the U.S. to DuPage County.

“I was born in the former Yugoslavia, a region that to this day remains a powerhouse in water polo,” said Igor Bakovic, director of sports for the DuPage Sports Commission. “I have a passion for the sport and jumped at the opportunity to have it here in DuPage. The USA Water Polo programs are exceptional. USA women have won the last three Olympic gold medals and USA men are proving a formidable force with the program on the rise.”

Taking place Nov. 4-6, the 2022 Kap7 Champions Cup is a three-day event with competition in two divisions with the best youth water polo players going for gold in the girls and boys divisions. Champions Cup is specifically for athletes who are 14 years and younger and in eighth grade or under. The event is expected to feature about 24 teams and 480 athletes.

In 2024, the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program will draw at least 900 18-and-under athletes in the Youth, Cadet and Development levels. Over the course of three days, they will train with the goal to represent USA Water Polo in domestic and international competition.

“USA Water Polo is so excited to bring three premier events to DuPage County and the Midwest where there is an undeniable passion for the sport of water polo,” USA Water Polo Chief Growth Officer Ryan Cunnane said. “To be able to host the events at a facility like the FMC Natatorium is an ideal scenario. We are so appreciative of the efforts of the staff at the DuPage Sports Commission and the FMC Natatorium to help set the stage for these competitions. With a tremendous history of water polo, the state of Illinois is only primed for even greater growth of the game and these events help us accomplish two key goals – hosting exceptional events and increasing water polo opportunities nationwide.”

Both the Champions Cup and Olympic Development Program will be hosted at FMC Natatorium, which opened in 2020 and is widely considered in line with the top 10 indoor facilities in the country.

Designed by founder MaryAnn Kaufman, the natatorium offers a nine-lane competition pool, eight-lane training pool, four locker rooms, movable bulkheads and seating for 1,200. On-site parking provides more than 300 spots with an additional 200 spots at Ty Warner Park and street parking as well. Close to major highways and many fine hotels and restaurants, FMC offers an incomparable visitor experience.

“I look forward to our new relationship with USA Water Polo and its athletes,” Kaufman said.

More details on the 2022 Kap7 Champions Cup including an event schedule, tickets and livestreaming information will be available in the coming months.

Bakovic expects a warm welcome for USA Water Polo from the DuPage community.

“Water polo has a large following in the Midwest, including here in DuPage,” Bakovic said. “This was a natural fit for the DuPage community. Thank you to John Abdou, Ryan Cunnane and USA Water Polo for sharing our vision and working with us to make this happen.”

Created by the nonprofit DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau, the DuPage Sports Commission was founded in 2019 to harness the power of sports tourism on behalf of the county’s 38 communities and 1 million residents. The DSC is uniquely positioned to advocate for and actively impact the health of DuPage communities through strategic growth as an amateur, youth and professional sporting destination. For more information, visit www.DuPageSportsCommission.com.

FMC Natatorium, located in Westmont at Ty Warner Park, offers a wide range of options for swimmers ranging from infant self-rescue lessons to USA Masters swimmers with a lifetime of experience. In addition, private and group swim lessons are available, as well as stroke clinics, aqua fitness classes and summer swim camps. The facility is open to the public and provides access to lessons for everyone. Learn more at fmcnatatorium.org.

USA Water Polo is the national governing body for water polo in America, overseeing the U.S. Olympic program as well as 20 championship events annually, such as Junior Olympics and Masters National Championships. With more than 50,000 members, USAWP is the sanctioning authority for more than 500 member clubs and more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport throughout the U.S., fostering grass-roots expansion while providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches and officials. For more information, visit www.usawaterpolo.org