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All You Need To Know About Water Polo

Introduction On Water Polo:

Water Polo is a team sport played in water consisting of two teams, 6 players each and a goalkeeper. It requires endurance and teamwork. Since the sport is played in the water, players must possess swimming skills and a high level of fitness. The aim of the sport is to score as many goals as possible in order to win the match. Players and goalies use different colors of caps so as to differentiate themselves from each other. It is said that the Duke of Cambridge is a fan of the sport and has played at the university and national level for Scotland and therefore the sport has a royal seal of approval.

History of Water Polo:

William Wilson developed the game in the 1870s. It originated in England and Scotland around the mid 19th century. It was known as ‘Water Rugby’ during the earlier days; during that time the players were allowed to use their physical strength upon their opponents to collect the ball and the goalie’s position used to be outside the playing area. He had the authority to exercise his power by jumping on anybody who tried to place the ball on the deck. This sport demands the superiority of fitness and swimming skills. In earlier days swimming and water racing competitions were dominating everywhere. Soon after getting popularity, it was introduced for the first time in the Olympics in 1900. The game later developed with the formation of the London Water Polo League and has expanded ever since, becoming popular in the part of Europe, the United States, Brazil, China, Canada, Australia.

How to Play Water Polo:

Movement of the Ball during the Game of Water Polo

All You Need To Know About Water Polo

The players can move the ball by throwing it to their teammates or can keep in possession by swimming with it. Players are not allowed to keep the ball underwater so that they can avoid their opponent to get the possession back. The players are also not allowed to push or hold the opposite player. Because Water polo is an immensely aggressive sport, faults are regular and natural, but yet players play it with enough enthusiasm and stamina.

Passing of the Ball during the Game of Water Polo

Water Polo is one more game which requires excellent hand-eye coordination. It requires the flawlessness to handle and pass the ball and this is exactly where good teams look different than the best or great teams. A ‘dry pass’ means the ball not touching the water requires intense speed and a fluid motion by the players. It also requires the best technique to catch and throw. A ‘wet pass’ means a deliberate pass where the ball touches the water to a player who is in the offensive position. The wet pass is delivered when a player is near to the goal post.

Waterpolo pool diagram
Waterpolo pool diagram

Fouls did in a Water Polo Game

Two types of fouls can occur when the game of Water polo is being played. One is when a fouler gives up the ball and backs off. Second is when there is an ejection or a kick out of the ball. When someone is more aggressive than it is required like drowning or smacking opposite or any player, it is called ejection. After 3 such ejections, the player can be banned by the referee.

Fouls made by the defenders are mainly happening when they obstruct the opponent’s ball movement. Unlike the other games in Water polo the players do not have to get out of the playing area when they have committed fouls, over here the play continues, but yes, if the player has made three ejections then he will have to be removed. Persistent and unwanted discussion by the team coach with the referee may also lead to foul and the coach or the official may be asked to leave the playing area by the referee.

Judges and officials for Water polo

There is a referee who looks over the entire game. The goal judge keeps the watch on the legality of the goals. The table officials too, like referee keeps the watch on the game plus the rules are maintained during the game. They also keep the watch on the true information which should be conveyed to everyone concerned. The timekeeper keeps the eye on the timing of all the periods plus on the shots which should not be delayed by more than 30 seconds as per the rule.

We hope you love this game, BTW you can also check some interesting facts about Water Polo.

Water Polo Rules

  • In this sport, there is a goal post at each end of the pool, and the team scoring most goals by getting the ball between the post wins the game.
  • Players are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool they have to tread water. Players use a movement called eggbeater which is more efficient than the normal action of treading water.
  • Players can move the ball by throwing it to the teammate or swimming. Players can only hold the ball with one hand, unlike the goalkeeper who can use both hands.
  • The match starts with a swim-off. The ball is released in the middle of the pitch with the players lined up along with their teams. The first team to reach the ball has possession of the game and the other team will have to respond to it.
  • After each goal, the team who conceded resumed the match. All players for each team must be in their own half at the resumption of the play.
  • Water polo matches have two referees who stand on either side of the pool. They are in control of the game and the only officials who can award fouls.
  • Under FINA rules, a water polo match is divided into four quarters of eight minutes.
  • However, as the clock is stopped when the ball is not in play, the average quarter lasts around 12 minutes.
  • Each team is allowed to hold onto the ball for a maximum of 30 seconds only before shooting for the goal. If they haven’t done this then the possession is passed to the other team.

Water Polo game Equipment:

Water polo is a sport played in the water, the equipment going to be used is different from the similar kind of sport being played on the ground. Here are a few examples:


The ball is made up of waterproof material. The cover is designed and textured in a way that gives additional grip to the player. It floats on water and the size of the ball varies for the men and women category of championships.


A cap is used for protection purposes. The aim is to protect the ear and head. It is also used to differentiate between teams. The team who is playing in their home ground wears white-colored caps while the visiting team wears dark-colored caps. The red caps with ear protectors are worn by goalkeepers.


Goalposts are positioned on both sides of the pool. They are made in a way that can float on water using floaters. They are usually made of glass-reinforced polyester resin. The supporting framework is made up of steel to give additional strength. One pair of backings and four stanchion sockets are required for each pair of cages.

Mouth Guard

This is one of the most important pieces of equipment. While diving underwater, sometimes players face heavy impact and this will ensure player’s safety. A good mouthguard is the one that allows easy breathing and clear speaking while playing.


Swim briefs or jammers are the swimsuit costume for male players. Female players wear a one-piece swimsuit. Tight-fitting swimsuits are important as suit-grabbing fouls are common in the game. Preferably made up of reinforced fabric and tougher stitching.

Champions of Water Polo:

Besides other games like football and rugby, water polo was first introduced in the Olympics in 1900. Women’s water polo became a part of the Olympics in late 2000 after the political protest from Australia’s women’s team.

The list of some important tournaments in Water Polo are listed below: 

  • NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championship
  • Olympic Games
  • NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship
  • USA Water Polo Hall of Fame
  • Men’s Champion League Euro Cup
  • FINA Water Polo Tournaments

Here’s a brief look at the careers of some of the champions of Water Polo:

Justin Boyd

All You Need To Know About Water Polo

Justin Boyd is a Canadian, and the youngest player in the 2008 Olympics. He started his career at the early age of 12. He was a part of the FINA Championship in 2009, 2011, and 2013.

In 2009, Canada won the silver medal in which he was part of the team. In the World Aquatic Championships in 2015, the country was represented by him.

Boyd was a member of the Canada Water Polo team in 2014, which got the sixth position in the FINA Water Polo World League.

Alkisti Avramidou

All You Need To Know About Water Polo

Alkisti Avramidou is a Greece Water Polo player who plays as a left-wing for Olympiacos and the Greek National Team.

In the 2011 World Aquatic Championship Greece won the gold medal in which Avramidou was a part of the Water Polo team. In addition, she won one silver medal in 2010 and one in 2012 in European Championship.

Avramidou also won two bronze medals in FINA World League. One in 2010 and the other in 2012.

Tony Azevedo

All You Need To Know About Water Polo

Azevedo represents America in the Water Polo sport. Currently, he is the captain of the US National Water Polo team.

His water polo career was started with the Bissolati Cremona team of Italy where he scored 63 goals with an average of 2.62 per game in 2006.

Azevedo joined the American team and played in the  Melbourne World Championships in 2007, where America got the silver medal. In 2012, he became the captain of the United States men’s national Water Polo team.

Kami Craig

All You Need To Know About Water Polo

Kami Craig is an American Water Polo player. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she was a part of the team when it won the silver medal. She also led her team to win a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics held in London.

In 2009, Kami was also a part of the American team for the FINA World Championships. She was also honored with the prestigious Peter J. Cutino award in 2009 and 2010.

Nicolas Constantin Bicari

All You Need To Know About Water Polo

Nicolas Constantin Bicari is a Canadian water polo player. In 2010 he started his career Junior Pan American Championship where his team won a gold medal.

In the 2009 FINA World Championships, Nicolas was a part of the senior team that got eighth place in the tournament.

In the 2011 Pan American Games, he shot 10 goals and received the sixth position while his team won a silver medal in the tournament. In addition to this, he also shot 16 goals in six games of the FINA Championships held in 2014.

Jessica Gaudreault

All You Need To Know About Water Polo

Jessica Gaudreault is a Canadian water polo player. Her career was started as a swimmer but she could not succeed, so she made a switch to Water Polo.

In 2008 and 2010 Gaudreault was a part of the junior international team that won the gold medals in the Pan American Championships.

Her team got ninth rank in the FINA World Junior Championships in 2011 and 2013. Gaudreault was the goaltender in the 2015 UANA Cup, and due to her performance, she qualified for FINA World Championships.


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