USA Water Polo Launches #WaterPoloTough Campaign

by SwimSwam 0

October 21st, 2020 Water Polo

Courtesy: USA Water Polo

Irvine, CA – October 21 – USA Water Polo is proud to announce the Water Polo Tough campaign! In the coming weeks we’ll be showing the rest of the sports world what the water polo community has known forever: This sport is tough! Featuring some of the best athletes Team USA has to offer, including Olympic champions and Tokyo Olympics hopefuls, we’ll be sharing four spots that illustrate what #WaterPoloTough is all about. All the content will be available on USA Water Polo’s social media platforms (@USAWP) in addition to the Water Polo Tough microsite at

The 30-second spots—created in collaboration with award-winning advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi and legendary photographer POBY (Peter Pobyjpicz)—present a tongue-in-cheek look at some difficult activities, quickly upstaged by something much more challenging: Water polo. Showcasing our athletes’ personalities combined with the physically demanding beauty that is water polo—and finished with a dash of humor—these spots are sure to inspire.

Inspiration is a key piece of the campaign as those in the water polo community and beyond will be challenged to demonstrate how they’re water polo tough. Fans are encouraged to share their own takes on social media using the hashtag #WaterPoloTough and tagging @USAWP on Instagram and Twitter.

“Water Polo Tough is unique to other campaigns we have launched at USA Water Polo. At its center it’s really a way of life that can be defined by anyone who decides they want to live Water Polo Tough. We are thankful to our creative partners POBY and Saatchi & Saatchi in helping us develop a campaign that in a fun way articulates the mental, emotional, and physical toughness of water polo players,” said Nancy Atufunwa, USA Water Polo Director of Marketing.

The first spot—”Apple”—is an exaggerated modern take on the story of William Tell. In it, Olympic Gold medalist Kaleigh Gilchrist appears to attempt to shoot an apple blindfolded off the head of fellow Rio champion Kiley Neushul with a bow and arrow. As the camera pans out, it’s revealed that these two are actually treading water—and delivering an arrow into the apple will be the least of their challenges. A water polo match has broken out. Additional water polo athletes enter the fray, and their outfits have given way to a water polo suit and cap as viewers get an up close and personal view of the game at its highest level.

“Only once you have been in and around the sport of water polo, interacted with the players and administrators, watched a match or two, can you really understand the unparalleled toughness required to be successful in this sport. So, if we have done anything to help exemplify how tough—both physically and mentally—anyone involved in the sport of water polo is, then I think we have done our job,” said Bryan DeSena, Account Director at Saatchi & Saatchi.

In addition, a behind-the-scenes feature is available in which both athletes and the creative team discuss their process. Three more spots and behind-the-scenes vignettes will be shared in the coming weeks. While Gilchrist and Neushul star first, other women’s athletes featured include fellow Olympic champions Maggie Steffens and Ashleigh Johnson. The Men’s National Team is well-represented, too, as the campaign includes Olympic Silver medalist Jesse Smith, 2016 Olympian Luca Cupido, and Pan American Games Gold medalists Johnny Hooper and Max Irving.

POBY (Peter Pobyjpicz)—who has been behind the lens for a host of high-profile campaign shoots—also took a variety of impactful images featuring Team USA athletes. Many of those photos will be shared in the days and weeks to follow on USA Water Polo and athlete social media pages. Additional athletes highlighted include Olympic champions Melissa Seidemann and Rachel Fattal plus Tokyo hopeful Jack Turner.

“As a retired professional water polo athlete, it was always a goal for me to show the world visually what water polo really is: a physically and mentally tough yet fun sport that is much more than what is known by the public,” said POBY. He added: “Working with Mark Carolan, creative director, and his team at Saatchi & Saatchi, brought us a big step closer to this goal.”

The rest of the schedule for Water Polo Tough will see “Carved” released on Oct. 28 starring Smith and Irving. Johnson and Steffens take center stage in “Boom,” premiering on Nov. 11. Cupido and Hooper will debut in “Shred” on Nov. 18 to close out the schedule.

For more information be sure to visit

About USA Water Polo
USA Water Polo, Inc. is the national governing body for water polo in America, overseeing our United States Olympic program as well as 20 different championship events annually, such as Junior Olympics and Masters National Championships. With more than 50,000 members, USAWP also is the sanctioning authority for more than 500 Member Clubs and more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport throughout the U.S. It fosters grass-roots expansion of the sport, providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches and officials.

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