Home for USA Water Polo to Make a Splash at Orange County Great Park

A conceptual rendering depicts an aquatic complex planned in Irvine’s Great Park that would be home to USA Water Polo and an Olympic training facility. (Courtesy of FivePoint Holdings)

IRVINE, Calif. – A premier water polo complex at the Orange County Great Park is currently underway after receiving approval from Irvine officials late last year.

Under a partnership with developer FivePoint Holdings, which created many of the park’s existing features, the city will build a pool facility where the U.S. Olympic team will train. A field house for basketball and volleyball and a parking garage will also serve those and the park’s other sports facilities.

“I think we’ll finally be able to call Irvine our home,” two-time Olympian Maggie Steffens said in celebrating the facility where the U.S. men’s and women’s water polo teams will be able to practice together and host tournaments.

The approval to build the $250 million project will complete the 688-acre park’s sports-focused western quadrant.

With financing in place, officials will complete the final design of the water polo facility and may begin construction in early 2021. That gives ample time for the national teams to move in and begin preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics, USA Water Polo CEO Christopher Ramsey said.

He also stressed the community benefits of the pool complex: USA Water Polo offers water safety programs and has recreational leagues for athletes of all ages, and while it will manage the facility, the city will get guaranteed pool time for its own swimming activities.

“For us, this is a dream come true,” Ramsey said. “We could not be doing the scale of what we’re doing without this partnership.”

Besides water polo, the park has soccer, baseball, and softball fields, tennis courts, and an ice rink where the Anaheim Ducks hold some practices.

The pool complex could be a 2028 Los Angeles Olympics venue.