Water Polo Home
Water polo is possibly one of the most demanding of all team sports. Players swim up to four kilometres in just a single one-hour game, while also competing in a demanding physical duel with competitors for the ultimate prize — the ball!
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Water Polo program brings together Australia’s top female water polo players under the direction of National Head Coach Greg McFadden.
About the program
The AIS Water Polo program is a non-residential program for female athletes, where athletes train and compete in their home states with the support of their local state institute or academy of sport.
Several times each year, the AIS team comes together to train as a group at the AIS campus in Canberra. The Australian women’s water polo team is generally selected from AIS athletes.
While in camp in Canberra, the team accesses the world-leading expertise of AIS sports science and sports medicine staff to find new ways to improve their performance.
About the sport
Water polo is a team water sport, which can be best described as a combination of swimming, football (soccer), basketball, ice hockey, rugby and wrestling. A team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper. The aim of the game resembles that of football — to score as many goals as possible, each goal being worth one point.
A perfect water polo athlete can be best described as having the over-arm accuracy of a baseball pitcher, the vertical reach of a volleyball player, the toughness of a hockey player, the endurance of a cross-country skier and the strategy of a chess player.
It has often been said of water polo that 90 per cent of the action in the game happens below the water as players fight off opponents. But at elite level, much of the action is away from competition as players work on their core building blocks of strength, fitness, speed and flexibility.
These skills help them to tread water without using their hands, swim four kilometres in an average match, shoot and pass accurately when they are physically exhausted, and deal with, or even inflict, heavy contact.
On top of swimming, during the average water polo game players catch, throw, block and sometimes dodge balls thrown at up to 60 kilometres an hour. At the elite level, players may also lose two to three kilograms during a tournament.
All of this means that athletes must have exceptional fitness, technique and stamina.