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Definition: water polo from Philip's Encyclopedia

Sport devised as an aquatic form of football, played by two teams of seven people in a pool. At each end of the pool is a net-enclosed goal defended by one player per team. Water polo has been an Olympic event since 1900.


Summary Article: water polo
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

swimming game encompassing features of soccer, football, basketball, and hockey. The object of the game is to maneuver, by head, feet, or hand, a leather-covered ball 27 to 28 in. (about 70 cm) in circumference into net-enclosed goals at opposite ends of a pool 19 to 30 yd (17.37 to 27.43 m) long and at most 20 yd (18.29 m) wide. The two competing teams consist of seven players each, one of whom is the goalie. Only one hand may be used to advance the ball, which must be carried on the surface. Rough defensive techniques permitted include ducking, i.e., holding a player underwater.

Water polo was devised in England in the 1870s and became popular in the United States in the early 20th cent. It is played mainly by club teams, although it is also popular in collegiate competition. Water polo has been an men's Olympic event since 1900; women's water polo was first played at the games in 2000. A far rougher version of the game, played with a soft rubber ball in a larger pool and known as American or softball water polo, was formerly popular in the United States. However, its extreme violence brought it into disfavor, and today only the international or hardball game is played throughout the world.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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