Thunder Water Polo Makes North Texas Proud

Thunder Water Polo Makes North Texas Proud

by Susan Neuhalfen

The North Texas Thunder Water Polo Club made Texas proud at the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympic Championships in San Jose, California, this summer. Athletes and teams came from across the country to compete on a national level at the largest water polo competition in the world. Seven teams from the Thunder competed and all qualified for the Championship Division. Three teams ended up ranked in the top 25 water polo teams in the U.S.

“This was our most successful summer season to date,” said head coach Joe Linehan. “I am very proud of all of the Thunder athletes and coaches.”

To qualify for the National Junior Olympics, teams first have to qualify on a regional basis. The North Texas Thunder competed in Houston against several teams and came out dominant. According to Linehan, the Thunder was the top seed from the region in all the age groups and genders. They had a total of four boys’ teams and 3 girls’ teams participate in Stanford, California.

Nearly 700 teams from across the U.S. battled over a 4-day period within their respective age group—from age 10 and under to 18 and under—and separated by boys and girls. All of the Thunder teams had a successful run from the 12U team up to 18U team.

“Each year we build on the previous year’s success,” said Linehan. “This is only
the beginning.”

Water polo’s popularity is spreading like wildfire across Texas. After growing water polo in the Houston area, Linehan came to north Texas to head up the North Texas Thunder. Denton ISD now has 4 high schools with water polo teams: Guyer, Ryan, Denton and Braswell. Many area high school coaches are all part of the North Texas Thunder coaching staff. Water polo is also being considered as a UIL sport.

“The Thunder is filled with the hard working, home grown coaches and supported by the best parents,” said Linehan. “I am very fortunate to be part of the athletes lives as they live, work, play, grow, compete, learn, and improve.”  

Thunder Water Polo has practice facilities in Southlake, Flower Mound and Denton and has practice opportunities all year round for all age groups from 6-18 years. For more information go to

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