High school sports in California experienced yet more growth between 2012 and 2013, none more than boys’ water polo, which increased its numbers by 4.4% during that period. That according to the California Interscholastic Federation, which reported a record number of athletes in its 2013 CIF Participation Census.
Among all California sports offerings boys’ water polo grew at the fastest pace by a significant margin, adding nearly 900 new players since 2012, lifting the total to over 16,000. That figure was enough to make it the 10th most popular sport among California high school boys. The 4.4% increase was over 1.5 times the gain made by the next fastest growing sport, swimming and diving, and more than double any top-ten non-aquatic sport.
Football remained the most popular boys’ sport with over 100,000 athletes, though its numbers declined by half a percent, a downward trend that the sport has sustained since 2007.
Over 14,000 girls participate in high school water polo in the Golden State making it the ninth most popular sport. Its numbers grew by 1.3% between 2012-2013, a rate of increase only bettered by cross country.
The most recent growth figures for both boys’ and girls’ water polo in California continue a decade-long trend which was reported in Total Waterpolo’s 2010 State of the Game study.