What is Water Polo?
Water Polo can best be described as contact soccer in the pool, in which athletes use their arms, not their legs, to throw the ball through the opponent's goal. This game of strength, quickness and endurance consists of a team of seven in the water at once, including a goalie.
The playing area is 30x20 meters (25x17 meter for Women), with a minimum of 2 meters (61/2 feet) of depth.
Each team is allowed 13 players, with a goalkeeper and six field players participationg at any one time. Players tread water the entire game and cannot touch the bottom or side of the pool. No player except the goalkeeper may handle the ball with more than one hand.
Duration of Play
The game is separated into four quarters of 5, 6, or 7 minutes, depending upon the level of competition, with a two minute interval between quarters. Substitutions are permitted only after a goal is scored, between periods or for an ejected player. Each team is allowed two-one minute time-outs.
The Start of Play
Each quarter is started with teams lined up on opposite goal lines. On a signal (whistle) from the referee, the teams spring toward center pool/side of pool for the ball. The ball is placed in a pull start or dropped by a referee. Teams then sprint to the ball in an attempt to gain the first possession.
As in basketball, there is a shot clock. Each team has 35 seconds to shoot the ball at the goal; if no shot is taken a free throw is awarded to the opposing team. In addition, a game clock keeps track of the time left in each quarter of the contest.