By Gareth Johnson @GTVlondon
Photo ©[email protected]

I get turned on by Speedos. Not just the brand, but the whole genre of swimwear that the word Speedo has come to represent. In Australia we used to call them budgie-smugglers. Small, tight, lycra swimming briefs that leave nothing to the imagination. I get turned on by wearing them and I get turned on by other guys wearing them.

I find all sorts of sports kit fairly sexy, but it was my appreciation of Speedos that led me to consider joining a water polo club. A gay water polo club.

London Orca is London’s only gay water polo club, and it’s one of the few water polo clubs in the UK that accepts new members who are looking to learn how to play the sport.

First established to send a water polo team to the Sydney Gay Games in 2002, London Orca is now one of the world’s largest gay water polo squads. The team plays regular matches in the local London League as well as competing in international tournaments against other gay teams from around the world.

I spoke with Darren Whittingslow - captain of the London Orca squad.

How do you join London Orca?

We welcome experienced water polo players as well as complete beginners. Our website has all the details but essentially we have two intakes each year. If you haven’t played before we offer two beginners sessions each year – these are always massively over-subscribed.

Do you have to be a really strong swimmer to join London Orca?

Not at all. Being a better swimmer does help with your ability to play water polo but we have abilities ranging from just-able-to-swim to ex-national swimmers. Even if you cannot swim, we are part of a wider club that includes swimming lessons.  

What about people who are shy or not very confident about wearing Speedos?

Non-Speedo swimwear is impractical when it comes to water polo. Many guys in our team are far from Tom Daley standard, a lot have love handles that droop to the floor. No one is going to judge you or care what you look like. Trust me, once you’ve worn your Speedos a few times you’ll be going on holiday just for an excuse to parade around in them.

Why do people join London Orca?

People come and stay for multiple reasons; some for the social life, some to get fit, some to try out a new sport. The reason I joined was to keep fit, but the reason I stayed was because of the people. No matter who you are, what shape you are, where you’re from or what you like, each and every person is welcome and made to feel like one of the team. 

What do people get out of joining London Orca?

They get a second family. I knew no one in London before I joined Orca and now I have a thriving social life, I’m fit and healthy and have made friends not only in London but as far away as the United States! London Orca has helped me grow so much in less than a year and for that I am eternally grateful.

Check out the London Orca website for details of their next new-player intake, or check out GMFA’s guide for a sports or social club that is right for you.

This article was taken from FS issue 146.