It is always interesting to take a deep dive into the history of any sport. It is fascinating to discover the beginning stages of a sport in its original state. It is equally fascinating to witness the evolution of a sport through constant changes and adjustments. Like baseball, basketball, and football, water polo has had an intriguing history worth looking into. In this piece, we are going to look into the history of water polo.
In order to discover where water polo originated from, one has to go back to 19th century Scotland. An engineer by trade, founder William Wilson invented a game that attempted to combine multiple sports such as rugby and football.
The first game of water polo was supposedly played near the River Dee in Scotland. The game’s popularity would spread through Great Britain like wildfire. The sport would become officially recognized as a sport in 1885 by the Swimming Association of Great Britain.
The sport would also gain traction in America not too long after. However, the rules allowed for holding and a more physical style of play. Water polo was one of the games that was featured in the modern Olympics in 1900. However, European nations did not compete in the Olympics for water polo due to the difference in the original rules of play.
In 1929, an international committee for water polo was constructed. This allowed for all nations to agree to a uniform set of rules.
Notable rule changes that took place during the water polo included the institution of the dry pass. This meant that an individual could throw a ball in the air to one another without letting it hit the water. As a result of this rule, the speed of water polo would increase significantly.
The most significant match in the history of water polo was a match between the Soviet Union and Hungary during the 1956 Olympics. At that time, the Hungarian Revolution was taking place. Hungary wanted to break away from policies imposed by the Soviet Union. Hungary beat the Soviet Union 4-0.
Currently, water polo is played at all levels, even in high school.