“On the Ball with the GM” 2

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Dear Water Polo players, officials, and stakeholders,

Alright, so that came around very quickly!!

Several weeks into the role now and I have had the opportunity to attend two board meetings, meet with all our major stakeholders and even attend my first water polo training session (attended as a pool deck observer). What struck me was not only how hard the players were working in the pool, but more importantly the obvious fun that they were having and the positive engagement between the coach and the players. It will be my pleasure to come out to as many clubs and venues as possible to see the sport in action and to engage with players, coaches, officials, and parents.

Go Go Polo

This is a new segment that I will dedicate to showcasing stories and activities and or notable achievements. Please do feel free to send me any news that you would like to have considered for a mention.

State Country Games 27 – 30 April – Canberra (submitted by Gyula Vargyas – Coach)

Our very young men’s team finished at 6th place out of 8, against the most experienced teams and full of national league standard players.
We had 2 subs on the bench plus Scott our manager who also got the opportunity to play. The boys did very well, and they fought bravely. Our group chat (app) is still active, and this trip was a good start to build up a team for the future. We came back with great memories and in a really good mood!
I am looking forward to the next one!


Congratulations Russell McKinnon! 

Russell has recently been re-appointed to the FINA Media Committee that he has represented since 1998. FINA has also invited Russell to Budapest to lead the water polo coverage. This will be Russell’s 13th FINA World Champs! 

In asking after Russell’s background, he was able to share the following.

I moved to Perth in 1991 after being manager of the NZ men’s water polo team at the FINA World Champs. I was a member of the WAWPI Executive for 21 years and handled the media and advocated for regional associations. I formed and chaired the Referees’ Commission for the first seven years and relocated to Geraldton in late 2020. I was appointed to the FINA Press Commission in 1998 and it has become the FINA Media Committee, having served six terms. I was on an IOC water polo sub-committee for four years and since 1998 have been on the International Swimming Hall of Fame Honouree Selection Committee. I was appointed chairman last year and responsible for inducting members of all aquatic disciplines. My successful inductees include Tom Hoad and Bridgette Gusterson from WA. Following the Olympics last year (my sixth), I was appointed the sole water polo writer for FINA and in that capacity cover every FINA water polo match and write a weekly column on the FINA website. I am on the Geraldton WPA with refereeing my portfolio. I was made a life member of WPWAI in 2007. Budapest will be my 13th FINA World Championships.

Many thanks for sharing Russell. These are very impressive credentials, and we are very fortunate to have you involved in our sport.

GWPA have staged an Open Space meeting to look at the future of the sport in the city. The first action is that masters water polo will start as a winter training/competition so as not to interfere with the already restricted pool space during summer. GWPA are also staging the WA Masters tournament on June 11-12.

Events on the Horizon!!

In the last newsletter, I made mention of Unity being a key focus for us moving forward.

Actions speak louder than words, so I will be looking to deliver on a few initiatives (with your help) make our sport more unified.

  1. I will be looking to deliver an end of year WPWA Awards Night to celebrate achievements across the sport and to have some fun.
  2. I will also be looking at the delivery of a social event (Quiz Night) but one that has a focus supporting at risk communities outside of our sport. Experience has shown me that a truly effective way to unify a group of people, is to commit to a cause external to their primary focus area. The idea will be to run a social event, to raise some funds and awareness for a chosen charity and then to extend that offer of support to members of the charity’s community to get involved in our sport. I will be focussing on charities that provide services for people living with a disability but who could get involved in water based activities.
  3. In “bringing our values to life” I would like to invite you to send in photographs and a description that you feel best represents our values. The photographs should have a Water Polo relevance of some kind.

The values are listed below.


I will engage with a panel from the Board to determine the winners across each value entry and these winning pictures will be embedded in our strategic plan on the website.

The pictures will also be displayed in the WPWAI Offices for the year and then presented as awards at the Awards Night at the end of the year.

This will become an annual photographic competition that will engage with our wider community, provide recognition to entries and critically, bring our values to life with inspiring pictures and quotes.

Please send your photograph and or short description as to why your picture shows a lived value to my e mail address and please make the picture as hi res as possible.

PS I would love to receive some photographs from our kids!!

Performance Pathway Program Review

The review has commenced with our external consultant in the process of providing a detailed online questionnaire for completion by our players, parents, coaches, and stakeholders. The questionnaire will be complemented by several personal interviews to be conducted by the consultant. I will communicate to you again when the survey is due to go live with any updates regarding process. This is a very important opportunity to have your say and share with us what you feel is working very well and what you believe should be changed/improved.


Prior to coming on board as your new GM, I had arranged to go to the UK to see family that (like many of you) I have not been able to do for a couple of years due to COVID.

I will be away from 3 – 14 June but wanted to let you know that I will be in regular contact with the Board/Staff to deal with any pressing matters and to make sure projects are kept on track.

Western Australian State Teams

The process of confirming coaching appointments and the number of team entries is well under way, and with the great help from members of the Performance Pathway Program Management Committee, I hope to make the necessary announcements soon along with the trial process/dates etc and arrangements for player kit/apparel down the track.

Kevin Knapp

GM Water Polo WA