By Alondra Olmos
Water polo has been around since the 19th century. If you aren’t familiar with the sport, let me start by saying it is is a combination of swimming, soccer, basketball, and even hockey. It is played in about 20 feet of water, making it one of the toughest sports in the world.
Water polo was one of the first team sports established at the modern Olympic Games in 1900. It is now popular in many countries around the world, such as Europe, Canada, Australia, and surprisingly, the United States. It was first played in rivers and lakes in England and Scotland. In 1869, a rubber ball replaced the original ball, which was made with leather from a pig’s stomach.
The game consists of 7 players, 1 being the goalkeeper and 6 are field players. The goalies job is to defend a large netted goal. The 6 players must attempt to score goals by throwing the ball into their opponent’s goal. Rather than using their feet, water polo players are allowed to use only one hand at a time to pass or shoot the ball. An average game lasts for about 45 minutes, this includes four 7-minute quarters that actually last around 12 minutes, depending on the referee and 2 minute rests between quarters. Each goal is worth 1 point, just like soccer. Scores are in the range of 6-15 goals per game.
Although water polo is considered a male dominated sport, several woman are outstandingly good at it. Senior, Isabel Villanueva, female starter of our high school water polo team says she finds the sport very fun. When asked what it’s like to be playing in a male dominated sport she said, “It feels normal, the boys make me feel welcome and I’m happy they treat me as equal.” Isabel also mentions how she got to work on her teamwork and communication skills. Despite water polo being a complex sport, she says she the only challenges she faces is playing against boys because they’re physically bigger.