Ice hockey, field hockey and swimming, that is the combination of sports that make up underwater hockey.
Underwater hockey is played in a two metre deep pool with teams of six with a weighted puck, similar to that used in ice hockey, only heavier.
The sport was started by a group of scuba divers who wanted to stay fit during winter months when it was too cold to dive and has grown in popularity over the last few years.
While the game is non-contact, players wear a variety of equipment while playing – water polo hats, mask, a snorkel, fins, gum-shield and a padded glove.
A stick, around 30cm in length, made of strong plastic is used as players look to score by shooting the puck into the metal trays at the bottom of the pool.
DCU’s Underwater Hockey Club was co-founded by Conor Meyler, who was only introduced to the sport in January.
Meyler has played field hockey for years and has always enjoyed swimming so after being introduced to the sport, he felt it was the next logical step.
“The game is a tough workout. You swim fast on the top which gets the lungs and heart pumping and then you need to dive to the bottom to play the game so it is all about lung control.”
“The massive benefits are you become super fit as swimming is great for the body, your lung capacity increases massively and you become an overall stronger swimmer,” Meyler said.
Despite only forming this year, the club are already competing, with national tournaments taking place in the National Aquatic Centre every few weeks as teams from Dublin, Belfast and Cork compete against each other.
“During each game there will be two referees in the water watching the game and a third referee on the side of the pool who rings an underwater gong to start/stop play and keep an eye on the time.”
“Every few months there will also be international tournaments that take place across Europe. It is a close community of players as all the clubs know each other but you do play at a high level,” Meyler said.
The plan is to grow the numbers in DCU’s club, with training taking place every Thursday night at 8:30pm in the National Aquatic Centre, with lifts provided if needed.
“It’s early days for DCU but the plan is to grow our numbers and then compete in the national competitions and perform strongly at them.”
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