Courtesy: USA Water Polo
OAK BROOK, IL — The DuPage Sports Commission and FMC Natatorium at Ty Warner Park today announced another national championship event on its way to DuPage County, signing an agreement with USA Water Polo to host the 2022 Kap7 Champions Cup, its return in 2024, 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 United States to DuPage County.
“I was born in 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 November 4-6, 2022, the 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 that are 14 years and younger, and in 8th Grade or under. The event is anticipated to feature approximately 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, as over the course of three days they 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,” said USA Water Polo Chief Growth Officer Ryan Cunnane. “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. Meticulously designed by founder MaryAnn Kaufman, the natatorium offers a nine-lane competition pool, eight-lane training pool, four locker rooms, moveable 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,” said Kaufman.
More details on the 2022 Kap7 Champions Cup including an event schedule, tickets, and live streaming information will be available in the coming months. Bakovic anticipates a warm welcome for USA Water Polo from the DuPage community. “Water polo has a large following in the Midwest, including here in DuPage,” said Bakovic. “This was 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.”