Skip to main content

Learn More About Water Polo

What is the history of water polo?

The modern game of water polo is derived from a form of rugby played in rivers and lakes in the mid-1800s in England and Scotland. At the time, the sport was dominated by brute strength, and not conditioning, as wrestling and holding opposing players underwater was common practice. At the time, goalkeepers stood on the deck and jumped on opponents attempting to score by placing the ball on the deck.

By the late 1800s, the game stressed swimming, passing, and scoring by throwing a ball into a goal net—players could no longer be pushed or held underwater. In 1888, the London Water Polo League was founded and developed rules that helped the sport grow and form a foundation for the present game.

What are the current Olympic water polo events?

Men’s water polo was one of the first team sports to appear in the Olympic Games in 1900. Women’s water polo wasn’t added until 2000 with Australia taking home gold in a buzzer-beating last-minute goal over the United States.

Sports in this article

Water Polo