Unseasonable rain and wind on Tuesday, followed by a heavily overcast Wednesday, made for some brisk conditions this week for the record 32 teams and 400 athletes at the eighth annual TruWest Oregon Open Water Water Polo Tournament.

The three-day event concludes today at Lewis Creek County Park on Foster Reservoir.

“We’re over that now,” organizer Steve Sessa said of the weather. “It’s 75 and sunny right now. We aren’t going to talk about the ‘r’ word.”

This year’s tournament, sponsored by the Albany-based Willamette Valley Water Polo Club, was sold out by May and attracted new teams from California and Utah, according to Sessa. They join teams from Washington and Oregon in trophy hunts.

“A team from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is back after being gone for a few years,” he said.

Participants camp in tents at the park.

The athletes are competing in several divisions, including coed 14 and under; girls 18 and under; boys 16 and under; and boys 18 and under.

Sessa said it costs $950 per team to enter, but that is all-inclusive including camping fees, breakfasts and T-shirts.

“We’ve had some really good, close games today,” he said. “The games will get even better in the championship rounds Thursday. It’s been a very good tournament.”

The event's purpose, Sessa said, is to compete against new teams.

He said this year’s local team is composed primarily of athletes from Albany and Salem, although in past years, swimmers from Sweet Home, Lebanon and Corvallis have also competed.

“We have 62 kids in the program right now, boys and girls, and we practice on Saturdays and Sundays at South Albany pool and one day per week in Salem,” he said.

Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.


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