Water polo is a team-based sport that is played in a pool and requires the ability to swim to compete. There are six players on each team in water polo, and one goal keeper per team, making a total of seven players in play at a given time. There are a maximum of six substitutes per game and the winner of the game is the team that scores the most goals on the opposing player’s side. Water polo is played by swimming, passing of the game ball, and scoring goals by sending the ball past the goalie of the opposing team. Water polo has similar characteristics of sports that are played on land, such as soccer and hockey. The sport is very popular around the world and is currently the oldest team sport still played in the Olympics.
Water polo is played on many different levels of competition. It is not only a popular sport for children, but it is also played on a high school level, a professional level, an Olympic level, and of course, college water polo is a very popular sports medium. College water polo is a very competitive sport, and although it does not get a great deal of media attention, many schools have competitive college water polo teams and an extensive recruiting processes for college water polo scholarships.
College water polo scholarships do not have to be handed out as a full ride to just a small amount of players. Instead, team officials, for example, may have six scholarships to hand out. Instead of giving six “full-ride” scholarships to six people to join the college water polo teams, it may be divided into partial scholarships and handed out to ten or more students. Only players who are exceptionally skillful may be given a full scholarship to play college water polo. The National Collegiate Association of Athletes (NCAA) allows for 4.5 scholarships for men in each school and 8 for women for division 1 (division 1 meaning the highest level of skilled athletes). The same number of scholarships are available for division 2 college water polo athletes as well.
For any high school water polo player, he or she must understand that college water polo teams are highly competitive. They should know that only the top players across the country will make it to this level of play. He or she should train hard if he or she thinks they have what it takes, and also attend some college water polo games to observe the level of competition that takes place.
Attending a smaller college with division 1 and division 2 college water polo teams is not a bad thing. Just getting on a team is very competitive, so a skilled water polo player should take what they are offered. But, they should also remember that the education is important as well.