The Weekly Kiki #2: A Synopsis of Water Polo and the Saints!

Sunday 18 October 2020

Hi guys! I hope everyone has had a great weekend.

This week I will be providing a brief synopsis on the history of water polo and the Saints team as a whole….And so we begin…

…Once upon a time in a land not so different from the current age, the game of water polo was born. Imagine a young lad or lassie clambering into a river or lake and deciding to take the rules of rugby and apply them to the aqueous environment. And thus, water polo was created.

Originally, water polo consisted of one team carrying a ball over their head with two hands across the opponent’s side and placing the ball firmly on their territory. Simple, right? However, as the sport increased in popularity as did its arduousness.

(Side note: originally water polo balls were made of pig’s stomachs…Interesting? However, in 1869 they were replaced by Indian rubber balls—so don’t worry we’re not practicing with pig’s stomachs)

The very first official water polo match (on record I am sure those matches in the river counted) was played in Crystal Palace Plunge in London in the 19th century. In 1880 in Scotland, water polo became a faster sport and the way of scoring a goal was changed to having the ball shot in a cage that was 10 feet wide and 3 feet deep (on goalies, such as a myself) instead of carrying a ball across a pool with two hands. The ball also changed to a leather football and from then on players could only carry the ball one-handed as well as be tackled by others while only holding the ball.

After Great Britain, America (Go ‘merica) was the second nation to adopt water polo as a formal sport. However, unlike Great Britain, matches in the States were much more vicious and cutthroat (classic Americans) and thus accelerated its popularity at an almost exponential rate. The very first American water polo championships were held in Providence, Rhode Island in 1890 and as time passed the sport spread to Belgium, Germany, and France.

Water Polo entered the Olympic Games in 1900 and was dominated by the British initially (Where were the Americans?) In 1911, Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) made the English-Scottish rules compulsory and ruled out the previous ‘’aggressive’’ American water polo style (sad).

And there you have it folks! That was my brief rendition of the history of water polo. If you would like a more detailed synopsis, please reach out to me and I can point you in the right direction.

Regarding Saints Water Polo: Currently, if you were unaware, we have a Premier Women’s team and a 1A Women’s team and 1A Men’s team. The Premier Team also won British Universities and Colleges Sport in 2019! Also, Prince William used to Captain the Men’s Water Polo team when he attended the University of St Andrews.

That’s all I have for you folks! Stay tuned for next week when I will be interviewing our coaches Ian and Alison!

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