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Who Are We?
The water polo team of the À Contre-Courant (ACC) Aquatic Club is primarily aimed at water polo players who are members of the LGBTF community (lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and “friends”) from the Montreal area. Its mission is to encourage the affirmation of this community, contribute to its growth and encourage mutual understanding between individuals, through participation in water polo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I’ve never played water polo. Are beginners welcome?
A: Absolutely! In fact, before joining the team, many players ACC had never touched a water polo ball.
It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game in advance (consult the Wikipedia page on water polo). But do not worry if it looks too complicated … everything will become clearer after a few practices. The team also has a number of experienced players who can guide you during training to help you learn the rules and strategies.
Q: I’m not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Can I still become a member?
A: No problem. The ACC water polo program welcomes everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. You must simply support the mission of the club to participate – in other words, be a “friend”. The water polo program is very open to straight people. There are several already among its members. We are all amateur athletes with a common love of water polo. What we do not tolerate is intolerance.
Q: Are women welcome?
A: Absolutely. Many women are part of the program and participate regularly in tournaments. In competition, the water polo team is co-ed.
Q: Is water polo a contact sport?
A: Although it is officially forbidden to grasp the opponent, in reality this happens quite often during the game – especially under water, where the referee can not see everything. From time to time, you get a kick or elbow, but normally it is by accident. Wearing a good mouth-guard is strongly recommended.
Q: Can I play even if I am a person living with HIV? Does water polo pose a risk of HIV transmission?
A: The ACC Aquatic Club does not discriminate on the basis of HIV status. However, since water polo is a contact sport where injuries are not uncommon, especially bleeding of the nose and mouth and superficial scratches, the issue of HIV transmission arises. But no need to worry: the HIV virus does not survive in water. There is therefore no possibility of transmission by playing water polo. If someone gets hurt, universal precautions (wearing gloves, etc.) will apply irrespective of the HIV status of the person.
Q: Do I need to be a good swimmer to participate?
A: You must be at ease in the deep part of the pool and be able to swim a few lengths without stopping. The mastery of egg-beater kick (swimming on the spot, treading water) is an important asset, but this technique can be taught during practice. There is always a portion of each practice dedicated to improving our speed and our cardio-vascular capacity. Nothing prevents you from taking breaks if you find it too exhausting. Over time, you will be able to get through a whole practice without a break.
The club offers an “all-inclusive” membership which allows members to practice more than one sport. It is a good idea to take part at least once a week in a swimming practice. Members of the water polo program who do can testify: it helps a lot. The swimming workouts as well as the technical swimming workshops which are offered periodically are led by qualified coaches who can give valuable advice to improve swimming style, speed and endurance.
Q: Is the participation in tournaments is mandatory?
A: Participation in tournaments is absolutely voluntary, but strongly encouraged, even for beginners, because that is where we learn the most and we make the most beautiful memories. It is also an ideal opportunity to socialize among ourselves and with players from other teams.
During the year, the team participates in several senior recreational tournaments. The local tournaments usually cost $40 – $50 per person.
Besides these, we also participate each year in one or two tournaments of the gay network. These tournaments are always very pleasant, and give us a good excuse to travel a bit. Since 2001, we had the opportunity to go to Toronto, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, Paris, Sydney, New York, Washington, Seattle, Copenhagen and Honolulu.
For gay tournaments abroad, we often organize fundraising activities to cover a portion of the costs of travel.
Q: When and where do you train?
A: The training takes place at the pool of the Cegep du Vieux-Montreal, 255 Ontario Street (corner Sanguinet between metro Berri-UQAM, Sherbrooke and Saint-Laurent). During the summer, some training takes place outside, at Parc Jean-Drapeau. In addition, the workout immediately after the tournament is often cancelled. It’s always a good idea to check our online schedule before showing up at the pool.
Q: How much are the fees?
A: See the Membership page for the registration fees and membership for the various programs of ACC. Please note that the “all inclusive” package gives access to all training sessions offered by the club, and in all sport programs. You must pay separate insurance fees for each of the sports you practice.
You’re new and you want to give it a try before you commit? You may at any time participate in a first training, for free.
Also note that we have a policy of financial assistance, through which it is possible to become a member of the club even if you are unable to pay the full fees. If this is your case, please contact the treasurer of the club, at email@example.com.
Q: I am affiliated with another water polo club or I compete with another water polo club. Is it possible to come train with ACC for additional trainings? Is it possible to become a member of ACC, but join with another club or compete with another club?
A: No. Given the mission of ACC, only those who are committed to the club can become members. This means that any person who participates in activities of the club must be affiliated with the Federation as a member of ACC. Moreover, if a member participates in tournaments, he or she must represent ACC. Under certain circumstances, however, a member may be permitted, on a limited basis, to participate in a tournament with another club.
Q: What do I bring with me to my first training?
A: The only equipment you need to bring is your bathing suit (avoid shorts with pockets and bikinis). At each training, water polo caps will be loaned to the players. You must remove or cover your piercings, remove your jewelry and make sure the nails of your hands and feet are short. Glasses and goggles are not allowed, but you can wear contact lenses – it is rather rare to lose lenses in the pool playing water polo. Wearing a mouth guard is recommended and can be purchased in stores of sports equipment.
We advise you to bring your personal effects with you by the pool: they will be safer than in the changing room lockers, where they may be stolen.
Q: At what time of year should I register?
A: You can join the club at any time of year, even if you are a beginner. Registration fees are reduced accordingly when you start once the session has begun.
Q: Who do I call if I have other questions?
A: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to a workout and speak to the coach.