Working toward being available to be included in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles is a proposed venue in Irvine’s Great Park where a $50 million pool complex could host the water polo competition. The facility would be located next to a $104 million four-rink ice complex that is scheduled to open this December and be a host for Anaheim Ducks practices.
Very much like the deal on the ice complex, the pool complex would be negotiated with USA Water Polo, the sport’s official U.S. governing body, to bear the costs of building and operating that complex on property leased to it by Irvine, and the city would have an amount of time that the public would be able to use the facility.
The city council has been talking about such a project for approximately a decade already. With USA Water Polo, presently in Huntington Beach, planning to relocate its headquarters to Irvine, and with Orange County having a large number of water polo players, the proposed pool complex would make a lot of sense. Also, the group does not have a home training facility currently, and this is to include a competition pool and a practice pool in a stadium-type spectator setting. It would also host swim competitions as well as the community pool time.
Additionally, the city’s residents would benefit because more public pool facilities are needed, and that new pool complex would certainly attract visitors who would spend money with the merchants. A USA Water Polo economic study suggests that as much as a $1 billion ripple effect could be generated for the local economy over the next 50 years.
An agreement between USA Water Polo and the city is to be worked out within five months and go back to the City Council for its approval. Hopefully, this deal can be worked out because ground could be broken by 2021.
The Summer Olympics has included water polo competitions since the second games in 1900. A water polo tournament for women was begun in the 2000 Summer Olympics. The most successful country in the men’s tournaments has been Hungary, and the United States is the only one that has won multiple times in the women’s tournaments. The first water polo venues were located on a lake or a river, and it was 1920 before the aquatic competitions had their own venue. Water polo didn’t have its separate venue until Tokyo’s 1964 Summer Olympics.