Water Polo GK save

So what exactly is water polo?

THINK of football, but you’re in a pool, and you’re using your hands. Handball … but swimming. That game with the tiny nets that you play on holiday.

These are all common explanations water polo players use in the UK when trying to explain what exactly it is they do.

Water polo has existed since the mid-1800s when it was adapted from a form of rugby played in lakes and rivers. At that point, the game was mainly about wrestling and holding people under the water until they released the ball. It has become slightly more complicated since then.

A water polo team is made up of 13 players, with seven in the water at a time. A goalkeeper, same as in football, a centre-back, a centre-forward, two shooters and two wingers. When they’re attacking, they might set up in an arc like this.

The idea is to throw the ball around and score goals, but unlike when playing in a holiday resort, you cannot touch the floor, and the other team are doing everything they can to stop you.

Water polo allows kids who like swimming, but don’t want or can’t compete at the top level to stay active in a fun, friendly team-based competitive environment.

Welsh Wanderers coach, Azriel Abramovich.
The club practising here are Welsh Wanderers‘ senior men’s squad. In this drill, the defenders have had a player sent out and are “man-down” for 30 seconds while the attackers move the ball and try to score.

“Water polo allows kids who like swimming, but don’t like competing, to stay active in a fun, friendly team-based environment,” said Welsh Wanderers coach, Azriel Abramovich.

Welsh Wanderers are based in Cardiff and offer sessions for all age groups and abilities, whether you’re someone who just wants to give water polo a go or have been playing for years.

At the Cardiff International Pool, Wanderers run senior sessions on Tuesdays (women’s) and Thursdays (men’s) with junior mixed sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays, all starting at 7.30pm.