Carol Rose refs an underwater hockey tournament in New Zealand.
Courtesy Carol Rose refs an underwater hockey tournament in New Zealand.

Carol Rose is underwater hockey’s most ardent supporter. That’s to the aquatics industry’s advantage.

The sport currently boasts more than 50 teams across the U.S. That’s approximately 500 people who might not otherwise dip a toe in a swimming pool.

Though underwater hockey has a nearly perfect safety profile, it is still met with resistance.

“Right now, we’re fighting all the people who think we’re going to die,” says Rose, referring to the sport’s breath-holding component.

As a tireless promoter of the game, she educates aquatics directors on how it can be a safe and vital part of their programming.

And she’s making progress.

The sport is attracting more and more players every year. Its governing body, U.S. Underwater Hockey, which is under Rose’s purview as president of the Underwater Society of America, recently launched a rapidly growing youth program.

“These are kids who grew up watching their parents play underwater hockey,” says the 72-year-old California native.

While the game gains momentum, Rose is hard at work nurturing another emerging sport: underwater rugby.