AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the first time since 1997 there will be a new varsity sport for Texas high school athletes.

Water polo will make its UIL debut next fall, but the sport has been growing over the years.

“In the late 2000s there were only about 30 to 40 teams that were playing statewide,” said Joe Linehan, the manager with USA Water Polo Texas. “Now there is going to be 190 plus teams playing in the fall of 2022.”

In 2019, the sport received approval from the University Interscholastic League to become a varsity sport, but it will finally make its debut in August when practices begin.

“I think UIL recognized that growth, recognized the organization, and the potential of water polo,” said LASA water polo coach, Allie Hill.

Hill grew up playing the sport and now hopes to pass on her knowledge.

“With my high school kids, when I recruit them I say no prior experience is required we can teach you how to do everything,” said Hill. “A big plus of the water polo going UIL is funding. Right now most of our kids pay to play even in high school”

High school club teams used to play in the spring, but the water polo will now become a fall sport.

USA Water Polo said information about which schools will be participating will be released soon.