Water Polo History
Water Polo began in Great Britain in the 1860’s and was then known as “water derbies”. The early versions had few rules and matches were often very rough. In the 1920’s the sport began to use longer and deeper pools, which made it necessary for teams to rely more on swimming proficiency. The Hungarians introduced a method of quickly passing the ball for player to player without it touching the water, making for a much more skilful game. Today, it is an energetic sport, which emphasises swimming and ball skills over toughness.
Water Polo is played by both men and women and is the longest standing team sport in the Olympic Games, being introduced in Paris in 1900 as an exhibition sport. . Australia first participated at Olympic level in 1920 in Antwerp. Our international ranking began to improve after the 1956 Olympic games in Melbourne, when many Hungarians remained in Australia. The Australian Men’s team have qualified for many World Championships and were ranked fifth at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and then third in the 1993 World Water Polo cup, held in Athens, defeating both Russia and the United States. The team slipped to 10th following the VII World Championships in Rome in 1994. In January 1991, in Perth, the Australian men’s team made the semi-finals of the World Championships for the first time. However in February 1996, they were unsuccessful in their bid to qualify for the Atlanta Olympic games when they finished seventh at the Qualifying Tournament in Berlin.
In 1960 members from the Nunawading Swimming Club formed a water polo division. They entered a Men’s “B” grade side in the Victorian Water Polo Association in 1961 and in 1967 the first women’s team was entered, winning the women’s “B” grade championship in their first season. The number of players have increased over the years advancing to the top level in both men’s and women’s competitions (State League 1). In recent times, junior male and female teams have been very successful and many have represented Victoria with two also representing Australia.
Yarra Plenty Water Polo began in 1985 as Balwyn Yarra Water Polo before changing their name due to pool re-location. They won their first premiership flags in “E” grade men and “C” grade women the following year. Additional premierships have been won since then and the club has representatives in both Victorian and Australian teams.
In 1996, Nunawading and Yarra Plenty Water Polo teams first combined to form competitive State League 1 teams. This combination pioneered the trend within the sport to consolidate teams into larger and stronger clubs offering competition from juniors up to State League 1. NYP Dragons Water Polo Club Inc. was born.
Many juniors start playing water polo around the age of 9 or 10 depending on their swimming ability. Competition is available for males and females of all ages and skill levels.