Water polo, what you may not know…

The Australian Women's team before a London 2012 game

The Australian Women’s team before a London 2012 game

This year the British Gas Water Polo Championships will be held at the Manchester Aquatics Centre over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th February. Cheltenham, Bristol Central, City of Manchester and Lancaster will be contesting the men’s finals tournament. Meanwhile the women’s finals will see clashes between City of Manchester, Otter, Liverpool Lizards and Coventry.

With the finals just around the corner we at RAPs thought we’d take the time to explore some perhaps interesting facts about water polo…

The rules of water polo were originally developed in the late nineteenth century in Great Britain by William Wilson. William Wilson was an aquatics aficionado who also found the time to publish “The Swimming Instructor,” in 1883, one of the first books on swimming, it defined modern concepts of stroke efficiency, training, racing turns and water safety.

There are two types of passing in water polo: the dry pass and the wet pass. In a dry pass the ball does not touch the water and allows for optimal speed when passing from player to player. The wet pass is a deliberate pass into the water, usually done when making a pass to the hole set or centre forward. If the team has strong centre forward this can be a very effective, offensive move.

The London 2012 Water Polo Arena was the first dedicated Water Polo venue to be built for an Olympic Games. The venue itself was also very sustainable, intended as a temporary structure, many parts used in the build were hired so that they could be returned and reused after the games.

There is a variation of water polo called inner tube polo in which the players float in inner tubes (giant rubber rings). This results in less physical contact and as players do not have to tread water, they expend less energy. This allows casual players to get involved in the sport as they do not have to go through the strenuous training required for conventional water polo.

And there you have it. Hopefully you know a little bit more about water polo than before, and if you’re in Manchester why not try and catch the British Gas Water Polo Championships next weekend!

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