Small-market sports are continuing to grow in Estevan, and the turnout at last week's water polo camp was an indication that it has a future in the Energy City.
The brother-sister duo of Brendon and Auriel Bill hosted a water polo camp over the Christmas break to keep some of the local polo players in the pool. From Dec. 27 to 30 the camp was held in hour-long sessions at the Souris Valley Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
It's the first camp the pair of Estevan siblings have organized and run themselves, but 15-year-old Auriel and 17-year-old Brendon have been around the water sport for most of their lives. They began playing when they were six or seven years old and have helped out their father Brian Bill for some of the camps that he has instructed in the summers.
Both teens are now attending Campbell Collegiate in Regina, where they train about 15 hours each week, and have been a part of Team Sask. for three years. Brendon is looking to attend the centralization camp, which would have him trying out for a spot on the national team.
It's a busy time of the year, but a small group of seven-and eight-year-old "dedicated" players turned out for the camp, said Auriel.
Auriel and Brendon ran the attendees through numerous drills, primarily shooting, swimming and game skills.
"We tried to make it fun. It's a fun sport," said Auriel. "It's something they could do over the break instead of sitting on the couch."
Auriel said they were teaching most of the participants the basics of the sport, with most of the children at the camp in their first year of the sport. They started with the basics, but as the week progressed the instructors were able to begin teaching more advanced techniques.
She said they also had one player who wanted to play goal. Neither Auriel nor Brendon play goal, but they were able to show some moves and incorporate those into some of the drills.
Auriel said she sees the sport growing in Estevan since she started playing nearly 10 years ago.
"We've become a more competitive team. Younger players are going to Regina and provincial teams, developing and becoming better players."
This was the first camp hosted by the Bill siblings, but Auriel said they are hoping to keep the camp alive at future dates.