English History • Originated in mid 19th Century England • Derived from rugby (aquatic version) • London Swimming Association developed rules for indoor swimming pools in 1870, in hopes of attracting more spectators. • The early games were very brutal and were really nothing more than underwater wresting matches. • The goal was to touch the ball with both hands at the goal end of the pool. Similar to a touchdown in football.
Scottish History • The Scots are said to have tamed the sport. • In 1877 they added goal posts. Goal became a 10x3 foot cage. • Replaced the small rubber ball with a soccer ball. • Introduced rules that prohibited taking the ball underwater or tackling a player unless he had the ball. • This style spread throughout Europe in the 1890’s.
American History • Introduced to the USA in 1888 by John Robinson, an English swimming instructor. • Resembled American football in water. • Became very popular in the 1890’s. • Violence was the games main attraction. • Due to pool sizes and conditions, the American version became even more violent than early English versions.
General History • Resembles an early African rite of passage into manhood played in rivers. • First team sport added to the Olympics in 1900. • Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) took over as the national governing body for water polo in 1906. • AAU dropped water polo after a brawl erupted at the 1912 national championships in Chicago. • After agreeing to AAU regulations in 1914, water polo was once again an AAU event. • James R. Smith of the U.S. invents a ball specifically for water polo in the 1930’s. Became the sports official ball in the 1956 Olympics.
Women’s History • During the 1920’s in the U.S., physical educators decided that the game was to rough for women. • It was revived in the late 1950’s by Rose Mary Dawson, a women's coach in Michigan. • The AAU conducted a women’s championship in 1961. • An international women's championship has been conducted by the Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) as part of the World Aquatic Games since 1986. • Add as an Olympic event at the 2000 games.