7 Jul 2008

Children in Monmouthshire are celebrating having defeated three other water polo teams to win the prestigious South Wales mini water polo champions title.

Over 80 children aged 12 and under, representing mini water polo leagues from Bridgend, Monmouthshire, Newport and Neath Port Talbot gathered at Aberdare Swimming Pool on Saturday, July 5 having made it to the finals of the new competition after beating their counterparts at the South East and South West Wales semi-finals.

Having successfully offered mini polo as part of the Free Swimming Initiative in the school holiday periods, the children’s league was set up across South Wales in 2007 and now extends beyond this to provide sessions during term time.

Funding for the league was granted through the Welsh Assembly Government’s Free Swimming Improvement Fund. Over £7,000 was invested to purchase new equipment, provide coach education, and develop mini water polo clubs across South Wales, resulting in over 300 new children training and competing weekly.

Sports Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM went along on the day to show his support. He said; "I was delighted to be invited to Rhondda Cynon Taf last weekend to see how Welsh Assembly Government funding is providing more opportunities for children across Wales to become more active in sport.

"The Free Swimming Improvement Fund demonstrates our commitment to enhancing the quality of activities and facilities on offer, as well as creating more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate in sport and physical activity."

Coach Ian Parfitt said: "The children all worked extremely hard to make it to the final and I’m ecstatic with the result. We will continue to train and welcome any new members to the team".

For more information about getting involved in mini water polo or other Free Swimming Initiative activities, contact your local leisure centre or visit