At one time or another, every water polo player has to explain that there are no horses with snorkels (that’s just silly), or players with snorkels (that’s Octopush).
Water Polo is an extremely physical game, requiring skill, strength, stamina, and teamwork. Imagine swimming crossed with handball, crossed with football, crossed with rugby and you’re getting close. It was recently ranked as ‘the toughest sport in the world‘ ahead of Aussie Rules Football, Boxing, Rugby, and Ice Hockey.
It’s played in a deep-water pool by a team of seven (six outfield players, one goalie), and six substitutes – frequent substitutions are required because the game is so exhausting. In a top-level game, players may swim up to 3km during the four quarters of the game.
There’s a Wikipedia page that gives you all the history, ins and outs and tactics. Did you know that men’s water polo was among the first team sports introduced at the modern Olympic games in 1900? Or that Alexander Fleming, the inventor of Penicillin, was a Water Polo player?
And there’s another Wikipedia page that details the only time that the sport has ever made world news, when Hungary played Russia at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 just after Russia had invaded Hungary, following the Hungarian Revolution. It was known as the ‘Blood in the water‘ match, so you can guess what happened.
But don’t let that put you off. It’s an energetic, sociable game for boys, girls, men or women, and we’re always on the lookout for new players!