Water polo is a team game for men and women and is played in a swimming pool.

Players in the home team wear white caps

Players in the home team wear white caps

Water polo is played in a swimming pool. Two teams of seven players play a water polo match. The home team wears white caps, the visiting team blue caps, and goalies wear red caps with the number "1" in white or blue.

Players pass a round ball by throwing it to one another, and trying to throw, push or carry the ball into a net to score a goal. Each team's goalkeeper tries to stop the ball from going into the net.

The goalkeepers are the only players who can touch the ball with both hands. © Getty Images

The goalkeepers are the only players who can touch the ball with both hands. © Getty Images

The goalkeepers are the only players who can touch the ball with both hands. All the other players can only touch the ball with one hand. Players must not touch the bottom or sides of the pool.

Referees, who run along the side of the pool, make sure that players obey the rules. Players must not splash water at other players, hit other players or punch the ball. When a player breaks a rule it is called a 'foul'. If a player 'fouls' 5 times he or she is sent out of the pool.

In Olympic competition a water polo match is played for four quarters. Each quarter lasts 8 minutes.

Read about playing water polo and the rules of the game

http://www.wikihow.com/Understand-the-Rules-of-Water-Polo

History

Water polo was invented during the 1870s at a holiday resort in England. Guests straddled wooden barrels in a pool and hit a ball with kayak paddles. Later it was played without equipment and players waded (most players couldn't swim) in the water to score a goal. In the 1900s pools were larger and deeper, and players had to be able to swim

Women's water polo was a sport at the 2000 Games © Getty Images

Women's water polo was a sport at the 2000 Games © Getty Images

Water polo was introduced into Olympic competition for men at the1900 Olympic Games in Paris.

Women's water polo was included in the Olympic Games for the first time at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Watch video and read more about water polo at the Olympic Games.

http://www.olympic.org/water-polo