22nd North American UW Rugby Tournament – Toronto 2018

During the weekend of August 18-19 the 22nd. North American Underwater Rugby tournament was held at the Donald D. Summerville pool in downtown Toronto.

The second time of this summer tournament in the city of Toronto, Canada brought four (4) teams from the USA and four (4) from Canada. American teams from  Washington DC (DC-UWR), New Jersey ( NJ Hammerheads), Boston (Boston Narwhals), and the USA women team participated on this edition. Canadian teams from Montreal (CAMO RS), Brantford (Brantford UWR), Toronto (Toronto Raccoons) and Timmins, a brand new Canadian team that made its debut in the North American League.

The New Canadian Club Timmins Torpedoes

The Timmins Torpedoes with the nice logo and uniform, came all the way from far North Canada to play their first tournament. They are a great example of sport development in the community, willing to learn and grow.

All 8 teams played in 2 groups to define the ranking to play the semifinals. After the first round of games the top 4 teams were decided to play the semifinals  (Boston and Toronto from group A) and CAMO and Hammerheads from group B.

Two really intense and even final matches were played. Boston vs Toronto for played for the bronze on a second game after having played previously during the group round. Toronto beat the current NAL Champions Boston in a dramatic way after being twice under 0-1 and 1-2 on the score and finally winning 3-2 . A similar dramatic final game for the gold happened between Montreal and the Hammerheads. During the group round both teams played the first game and the Hammerheads won 3-2 after a half time in favor of CAMO by 0-2. The final game was even more competitive and only a small mistake by the Hammerheads at the end of the 2nd half allowed Montreal to take the gold with a final score of 1-0.

1st Place – CAMO RS

2nd Place – New Jersey Hammerheads

3rd Place – Toronto Raccoons

 

The Toronto Raccoons appreciate the participation of all clubs to this event and hope to see you in the next competition.

This was the last NAL tournament of the 2017-18 Season on which Boston Narwhals secured the 2017-18 NAL Championship title despite showing a mixed team and making no points under the NAL rules on this round. The Narwhals secured the NAL Championship title for the season with the points earned during the previous rounds of this season.

On the top scorer player Juan Pablo Riomaña from the New Jersey Hammerheads won the top scorer player award for this tournament with almost 10 goals over the second top scorer Marco Cardona from CAMO, and this difference helped him get the Top Scorer Award for the 2017-18 NAL Season

22nd NAL – Toronto 2018 Results here

2017-18 NAL season final Results here

October will be the start of the new 2018-19 Season on a location to be decided soon.

 

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Timmins UWR to debute at the 22nd. NAL in Toronto

Great news are coming from the Canadian side of the NAL border as four Canadian teams are about to participate on the 2nd edition of the North American UW Rugby Tournament this upcoming August in Toronto.

The regulars have been so far Club CAMO (Montreal, QC) and Toronto UWR (Toronto, ON) together with Club Liberation (Branford, ON) but this August a third club team from the province of Ontario will make their debut as the Timmins Underwater Rugby team, from the City of Timmins, Ontario.

uwrugby.org contacted their organizer Alex Gagnon for a short interview to introduce Timmins UWS to the rest of US and Canadian clubs.

UWRUGBY.ORG:  It was a great surprise to find that a new canadian team has joined the uw rugby world! How did Timmins UWS started?
Alex Gagnon: When you initially contacted me about this, I didn’t realize there were only 3 other teams that currently still exist across all of Canada. It doesn’t surprise me though as I understand now the obstacles that face a new club. Timmins isn’t a big City compared to the other UWR club locations and Underwater Sports usually attract only a small demographic due to it’s perception of intensity. I was lucky to have formed a partnership with my City and local pool to accommodate my initiatives, be flexible with my needs and promote my efforts. How do you get people to pay about $15 (cover pool rental) to try something they don’t know they’ll like or even stay around for? This is why it didn’t surprise me how not many clubs survived. You need to establish a strong interest of participants that can assure numbers at the pool sessions but as a start up how’s this possible? I was able to share the Friday night public swims with the City by closing off a small section of the pool and taking drop-ins who were curious of what we were doing. It was a win-win, they only charged the normal public swim and I brought in regulars who kept coming for the sport. This was a great system….except I received drop-in newcomers in the dozens at times, which is great but also many didn’t expect to join nor had gear for it. Which is the other reason I see Clubs’ tough lifespan. I did get some donations/support from the Toronto/Guelph Underwater Rugby & Hockey clubs and thank them very much but even with that I had to invest in gear for UWH & UWR for numbers that I couldn’t predict. I bring in 3 full bins of gear to the pool to supply over 20 participants if need be and bring them back home every evening to clean and sanitize each piece for health & maintenance reasons. I once had 133 pieces of gear to clean right after a drop-in evening!
UWRUGBY.ORG: Who is the organizer?
A.G. My name is Alexandre Gagnon and I can proudly say I have brought a surviving Underwater Sports Club to Timmins. Underwater Hockey started October 2017 and drop-in sessions every Friday night and Underwater Rugby started in March 2018 running drop -in sessions only Monday Evenings for the first few months and now 2 sessions a week (Wednesdays too).
UWRUGBY.ORG: Where is Timmins located?
A.G. Timmins is a mining community in Northeastern Ontario, approximately 8 hours from Toronto and has a population of 41 788 residents. Going the other direction it is about 7 hours from the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan border.
UWRUGBY.ORG: How many days a week do you practice UWR?
A.G. Currently we practice Underwater Rugby twice a week; Monday and Wednesday evenings 8:15 to 9:30 PM, to accommodate the various schedules of our regulars as well as to have more time to build endurance, skill, welcome more newcomers and simply add more joy to our week.
UWRUGBY.ORG: Having the real UWR goals (baskets) is a big milestone for clubs. Does Timmins have them yet?
A.G. I did not invest in the grand amount for nets as a start up but MacGyvered hours to make the closest replica that I could within my means that could also withstand chlorine water submersion vs. stainless steel. I attached photos of our plastic & foam, mining belt, tywrapped UWR goals. They are a bit wider than regulation nets but about the same height. Maybe the regulation nets will be easier to goaltend on for us when it comes to tournaments as it is a smaller hole to cover!
UWRUGBY.ORG: US and Canadian clubs started a collaboration to develop the sport in both sides of the border through the North American League (NAL) Do you see your team going to tournaments in the US soon?
A.G. I definitely could see this possibility become a reality. We are doing our first tournament this August in Toronto where US teams are travelling to us and if that experience is enjoyed by my members I could see them eager for future tournaments against the same and new teams. I know fees are a challenge when it comes to tournaments with each members personal financial situations. I never wanted that to impede on someone’s potential to experience an Underwater Sports improvement opportunity. This is why I can see a US tournament (further, more costly) easier to swallow as I have set up fundraising efforts for our club through a business I own to try and cover most of the costs (attached image).
UWRUGBY.ORG: I guess your background is UWH. What did you liked about UWR that made you start the UWR part?
A.G.  I did start with hockey as it was easier to get people to try out for the first time. A good chunk of my Underwater Rugby regulars come from being UWH regulars who were very competitive and intrigued from the sounds of UWR. I always planned on adding the sport but knew I had to build that committed group first as it is perceived as an intimidating activity. Now others seeing us scrimmaging during Adult Swims and people who try UWR sharing word of mouth increase our numbers.
UWRUGBY.ORG: What are the dimensions and characteristics of your pool?
A.G.3.81 m deep, 14.5 m across
UWRUGBY.ORG: Do you want to send a message for the US and Canadian uwr teams?
We are fairly new club but we can still make the other teams work. We are eager to learn from the experienced as well as perhaps bring new challenges to the Underwater play seen at previous tournaments.
For any other Canadian individuals looking to create an Underwater Rugby team, DO IT! The work is endless and takes much of you, you may invest more time and money than you should….but it is so worth it.
UWRUGBY.ORG:  Please feel free to add any other info, fun facts, etc
Underwater Sports Change Lives! We have seen amazing transitions in swim ability from players simply attempting to get to depths, players with deep end fears of drowning overcome the phobia, we have had smokers quit their addiction to improve lung capacity and even had someone quit and move out of an employment that took over almost every minute of his weeks to be able to make practices and he discovered a better workplace-life-family balance.
Also our 2 youngest players are a 15 year old girl and a 16 year old boy. Don’t be fooled by their age, they are tough and very dangerous! haha.
Timmins UWR will be one of the possible participants in Toronto
1. Toronto UWR (Can)
2. CAMO Rugby sousmarin (Can)
3. Club Liberation (Can)
4. Timmins UWS (Can)
5. Boston Narwhals (USA)
6. NJ Hammerheads (USA)
7. NUWR (USA)
8. Orphans team (US-Can)
9. USA Ladies Team (USA)

USA Women’s Underwater Rugby Improving on the path to World’s

By Lindsay Walker.

In May the tryouts for the USA Women’s Underwater Rugby Team was completed. Many players traveled to Florida for a tournament and coach, Juan Sevillano made use of this time to conduct fitness tests on Friday and the final of three tryouts on Monday following the tournament.

34 women came to the third tryout. The number and caliber of players was a significant improvement from previous years. Juan has shown his dedication to the process by sending the players drills and expectations in advance, recruiting volunteers to help with timing during fitness testing, and communicating the selection process with the players from beginning to end.

Juan brought in an amazing player, Natalia Londoño, from Columbia to teach scoring and other drills. Together they broke down many skills and allowed the players ample time to practice. The idea being that even women who don’t make the team can continue to improve and help others grow. The players broke out in scrimmage to allow Juan to analyze their skills under pressure in game situation, with focus on fast passing and avoiding attackers/surface play.

The mood was excellent at the wrap up of the tryouts. Juan and veteran player, Laurie Picot McGrath, highlighted the growth that’s been made with this group of women and the sport of underwater rugby in America. The vast majority of players met up for a meal and to celebrate the conclusion of a great weekend.

Players sent in their recommendations for a “dream team” and Juan announced team selection shortly after. The larger group was whittled down to 21 players, with many women commenting on how difficult it was to select which players moved on. The coach wanted 20 players but several were at the same level, so he selected them all.

What’s next? These 21 players will train hard, in and out of the pool, to improve their skills. Already several women are in Columbia to practice with the experienced teams there and 3 teammates from Boston are set to travel to Sweden for a training camp. 15 players will be selected to attend Worlds in Graz, Austria in Summer 2019.

21st North American UW Rugby Tournament – Pompano Beach 2018

The second and last North American Tournament in US soil for the 2017-18 season was literally played in and out of the pool “underwater”. Despite of the rainy weekend due to tropical storm Alberto, all the activities planed for the long weekend of Memorial Day were sucessfull starting with Friday May 25th and the second round of try-outs for the 2019 US National men’s team.

US Men’s National Coach Jose Echeverry directed a 6 hour session with Physical tests, drills and games to follow the 25 candidates present during this event.

Saturday and Sunday were planned for the 21st North American Tournament (NAL) in the two US categories;  the club (co-ed) tournament and the second round of the ladies tournament.

On Monday Coach Juan Sevillano directed the 3rd try-outs for the US Ladies with drills and games. Top Colombian player Natalia Londoño from Club Castores and the Colombian National team was invited to help oversee the American ladies games.

Ten (10) Club teams and four (4) ladies teams participated during 34 games to find the winners of this round of the North American League as well as the US Champion teams for the 2017-18 Season.

Club Tournament

The 10 teams were divided onto two groups of 5 teams each. Group A had Boston Narwhals as the defending Champions from the previous round in Montreal, New Jersey Hammerheads A, San Francisco Giant Sea Bass, Florida A and NUWR B. This group was very competitive and all the games were strongly played. Boston Narwhals and the New Jersey Hammerheads qualified for the semifinals.

Group B had NUWR A as well as the East Haven Makos, NJ Hammerheads B, DC UWR and Florida B. At the end of the Round Robin NUWR A had apparently an easy ride, winning all their games by K.O. (10-0). The East Haven Makos also qualified for semifinals.

The semifinals brought surprises for the qualified teams. The first semifinal was between NUWR A and the New Jersey Hammerheads A teams, both from Newark, New Jersey. The New Jersey Hammerheads A defeated NUWR A by 3-0 in a very fast and strong game sending the Hammerheads straight to the finals.

On the other semi-final the Boston Narwhals played against the East Haven Makos and defeating the second with a final score of 4-0 sending the Boston Narwhals to their sixth final game in the last six North American Tournaments, an impressive record.

The game for 3rd and 4th place between NUWR A and the East Haven Makos was a copy of their first match during the group round with an easy victory for NUWR A by a score of 10-0.

The final game was a completely new final match in the history of the North American Tournaments. This was the first time Boston Narwhals and NJ Hammerheads played a final game against each other, but not during this tournament. Their first game was during the group round on which Boston defeated the Hammerheads by a close score of 2-1. The final game was as strong as the first game but with fewer mistakes from both sides until Boston capitalized a mistake by the Hammerhead defense and got the goal that made the difference at the end of the game with the 1-0 final score.

FULL RESULTS HERE

1st Place Club – Boston Narwhals

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Place – New Jersey Hammerheads A

3rd Place – NUWR A

Club final 2017-18 ranking

With the NUWR A team finishing in third place gave Boston Narwhals the first position on the US Club Ranking for the season:

  1. Boston Narwhals         7pts.
  2. NUWR A                             6pts.
  3. NJ Hammerheads A     5pts.
  4. East HAven Makos        2pts.
  5. DC-UWR                            2pts.
  6. SF Giant Sea Bass           1pt.

RANKING HERE

LADIES Tournament

The second round of the Ladies tournament had the participation of 4 teams; Makos Ladies, New Jersey Hammerhead Ladies, DC-Boston Ladies (formerly Mixed Ladies) and the Florida Ladies.

The round robin came with strong games and surprises for all teams. Differences between all teams got reduced and games ended with very closed scores. The Dc-Boston team ended first on the group with 3 wins, while the other 3 teams ended-up tied in points and only with a goal difference decided their group ranking having the East Haven Makos Ladies going to the final game with DC-Boston.

During the group round DC-Boston and Makos Ladies had a close and strong game that ended with a DC-Boston victory by 2-0. Their final game was even more exciting and disputed on which the East Haven Makos Ladies were defeated at the end by 0-1 and giving DC-Boston Ladies their first victory on the Ladies tournament.

FULL RESULTS HERE

 

1st Place Ladies – DC-Boston

2nd Place – East Haven Makos Ladies

New Jersey Hammerhead Ladies

LADIES final 2017-18 ranking

The season for the ladies had a triple tie for the first place (NAL 10.4) and decided by points of direct games (CMAS 4.4.4.a):

  1. DC-Boston Ladies                        7pts.(+9)
  2. East Haven Makos Ladies           7pts. (+3)
  3. NJ Hammerheads Ladies           2pts.
  4. Florida Ladies                                   1pt.

The next and final round of the NAL 2017-18 series is scheduled for August 18-19 in Toronto, Ontario

First US Men’s UW Rugby team Try-outs for Austria 2019 WC

The Road to Austria 2019 for the US men’s team started this past Saturday March 25th in Newark, New Jersey scheduled as the first of a series of try-out events in the US for 2018.

22 players from a pool of 41 candidates from 4 clubs participated in this event directed by the US National UWR Coach Jose Echeverry who was reappointed as Head Coach last year. The players from Boston Narwhals, Florida Krakens, New Jersey Hammerheads and NUWR did some physical tests  on a early session and finished the day with a series of games and drills, closely observed by Coach Echeverry.

The goal for this new US Men’s team is to get a better final ranking on the Austrian World Championship next year improving the 9th place from the previous World Championship in Cali, Colombia 2015. In word from Coach Echeverry “the goal this time is to improve and be a serious contender to the top world UWR teams”

Special thanks to the City of Newark and the department of Recreation and Cultural affairs for their constant support.

The second try-outs are scheduled for Friday May 25th in pompano Beach, Florida prior to the 21st North American UW Rugby Tournament – Pompano Beach 2018 (3rd round of the NAL Season) Invitation to this tournament following this link http://www.floridauwr.com/images/21stNA-UWR-Pompano.pdf

1st US UW Rugby Men’s team try-outs in New Jersey looking forward to Austria 2019 WC

 

20th North American Underwater Rugby Tournament – Montreal 2018

The North American Underwater Rugby Series came to Celebrate their 20th Edition this past 24th and 25th of February. Club Camo Rugby Sousmarin from Montreal, Canada hosted the two day tournament featuring 7 teams from US and Canadian Clubs. For the first time two clubs from the North American League participated with two teams each across the border. (NUWR A & B and NJ Hammerheads A & B) The other participating teams were Toronto UWR from Ontario, Boston Narwhals and the host club CAMO.

This was the second round of the North American League for the 2017-18 Season. With Seven teams a round robin and then direct finals decided the tournament. The third place game was played between NJ Hammerheads and CAMO with victory of the latest by a clear 6-0

The final game was once again between NUWR and Boston teams both from the US, but this time it was the Boston Narwhals the winner of the tournament with a very close 1-0 score.

Full Results here

All participants at the award ceremony

3rd Place – CAMO RS

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Place – NUWR B

1st Place – Boston Narwhals

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next Round of the NAL League is scheduled for May 26th-27th In Pompano Beach Florida hosted by the Florida Krakens.

 

Ladies Team USA first tryouts

During the weekend of December 9th, 23 women united for the first set of tryouts for the Underwater Rugby USA Team. Juan Sevillano was nominated to be the team coach earlier this month and has coached the women at the previous World’s competition in Cali. He was well prepared with fitness testing and drills sent to participants in advance. Women from all American UWR teams were represented and flew in from Florida and California. There were several players from states that don’t currently have teams, and a couple underwater hockey recruits. There was a lot of experience from the Boston Narwhals team (MA), new talent from the East Haven Makos (CT), local players from NUWR and the New Jersey Hammerheads, and some excellent speed from competitive swimmers and fin swimmers alike. The ladies had ten hours in the pool over the weekend but the unexpected fun came out of the pool with a potluck and fitness games at one of the local players homes. Two more tryouts next year, before the team is selected in May.

Get ready for a fun ride! Juan is already flying high.