The River City Water Polo Water Club (RCWPC) name derived from the Somerville House River City Swim Club, where the club was initially based when it first amalgamated (around 1995). This was an amalgamation of Combined Universities (previously amalgamated Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland clubs), Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School, Maygars and the Brisbane Boys College (BBC) representing the inner north and western corridor of Brisbane. Bob Boyd (Life Member) was heavily involved with junior program at this time. The Junior Boys and Girls teams, along with the Senior teams were formed at this time, as were the Warriors Water Polo Club and Polo Bears Water Polo Club.
The Barracudas Water Polo Club was already in formation and as the other teams, mentioned above, were all piecemeal clubs there was a desire for four big clubs to be formed; the immediate goal being to have four teams each year, at each level, for competition purposes.
RCWPC commenced at Somerville House with a 50 metre pool, however the bulkhead cracked the pool’s tiles when it moved and was therefore not used for water polo training and/or competitions. At around the same time the rental increased markedly, so a decision was made to find an alternative venue.
The first move was made to the Centenary Pool at Spring Hill, where the Dive Pool was utilized for training. (“Kids, you haven’t played pairs until you’ve played pairs in a Dive Pool” – due to its 20 foot depth! says Brad Lauder). It was at this stage that the club developed a very successful A Grade team – the A Grade men’s team has won titles in each of the past three decades (from the 1990s, through to currently). Peter Bagster (a RCWPC Lifetime Member, more about him later) has been a winning member of the A Grade men’s finals in each of the last five decades, three of them with RCWPC. Peter STILL plays and coaches A Grade water polo at the age of 60!
From Centenary Pool the club then moved to St. Peter’s School at Indooroopilly; this was a great venue. We were there for a couple of seasons but at the same time St. Peter’s had an increasingly popular Australian Swim coach in their midst and as a result the water polo program was pushed out.
Another move was therefore required – the Junior members from RCWPC moved to Dunlop Park and it was around this time the Seniors moved to All Hallows School in the CBD. Dunlop Pool had a new owner at this point, however there was an issue with the pool, as unfortunately it wasn’t a designated “water polo” pool which meant that training was being conducted in four lanes of a 50m pool that was only deep for 15m. It was a very limited space.
So yet another move was initiated – the next one to the Jindalee Pool; being run by Phil (who later became President of RCWPC) and his partner, Ash Richardson. Ash was a Qld Breakers player, in addition to being the female head coach and player for three-four seasons. Importantly, Phil and Ash could offer a great rate for the club. The Juniors were based at Jindalee during the floods in 2011 when Jindalee pool went under.
Ash returned to the USA and unfortunately Phil’s new manager wanted to charge a higher rental rate and with that, as well as their not being a bulkhead in operation at Jindalee, the decision was made to join the seniors at the All Hallows Pool.
Growth of the AHS water polo program resulted in another move to Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) in Spring Hill for seniors with the juniors being included for the first time in 2015. Higher pool hire costs due to Covid and construction of a new building resulted in a move to Somerville and Marist Ashgrove in 2021.
Details on our life members can be found by clicking here.
History of Club
RCWPC makes up one of three clubs that feeds the KFC Queensland Breakers National League team in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
Rivercity teams have competed in both the Byron Five and Oakey social tournaments with great success. These two social tournaments (the Byron Five and Oakey) foster the social nature of water polo and great enjoyment is had by all participants. In 2014 four River City men’s and one women’s teams participated. The RC team led by Peter Bagster has won the title more than any other team.
River City Water Polo Club members have played important roles in both Brisbane Water Polo and Water Polo Queensland committees and boards. Club members have coached state teams, national league teams, and also club teams, with members of RCWPC contributing many club members throughout the history of the club.
RCWPC also provides an excellent number of officials to water polo competitions, at all levels. The club also spends considerable effort in encouraging younger players to join the sport at an early age via the Flippa Ball programs.
Fundraising is an essential component of the club as it is run and manned totally by volunteers. The fundraising efforts undertaken contribute considerably to the success of the club. The club is a good forum for parents to take part and become involved with their children’s water polo and the club itself. River City’s fundraising efforts are double those of a considerable number of other clubs as we are not on the receiving end of funds, such as the state’s schools, for example. A lot of barbeques are held and Grant writing undertaken! This (voluntary) fundraising has contributed considerably to the ongoing longevity of the club.
The club always encourages people to join and participate – members enjoy water polo at all levels; from the age of eight, right currently through to members who are in their fifties. Whether it be a first timer to the sport or someone who’s been away for a short or considerable amount of time, the club always welcomes all.
Membership numbers have fluctuated throughout the history of the club; at one stage River City boasted six senior women’s teams (currently there are only three). The girls’ program in particular is significantly affected by the popularity of the sport in the girls’ schools. At one stage we only had two junior girls’ teams. However, in 2015/16 we have eight junior girls’ teams. This has been a result of the Flippa Ball program introduced over the last three years and is resulting in a considerable number of girls coming through the system. Annette Comiskey (a founding member of Combined Unis) has once again returned to the club, along with her 11 year old daughter! Annette has taken on a coaching role and a number of other parents are in the same position; for example, Brad Lauder (now with three children), who is coaching and refereeing. We hope these “returning parents/players” will be the first in a long line of ex River City players returning to the club with their progeny.
The club endeavours to participate in all levels of the Brisbane water polo season, and currently apart from A Grade women participating, we are doing exactly that. In some instances this is with the inclusion of multiple teams in some age groups.
As for the future? The club would love to secure a “home venue”, however given the current limited options, River City is very hopeful of keeping the All Hallows pool/venue as its base for the foreseeable future.
Notes per Brad Lauder to Rose Panidis – 23rd November 2015