Make a splash in sport

PUBLISHED: 13:45 09 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

LIFE AFTER FOOTBALL: IF you've ever thought that football would be much more interesting if it was played in a swimming pool (and there are some of you out there, I know) then waterpolo could be right up your street.

IF you've ever thought that football would be much more interesting if it was played in a swimming pool (and there are some of you out there, I know) then waterpolo could be right up your street.

Although much more like basketball than football (otherwise scuba gear or mermaid tendencies might be required) waterpolo is a fast and furious team game which is sure to appeal to water babies everywhere. And even if you are not the next Karen Pickering, it can certainly produce some entertainment, providing you can swim, of course.

Phil Trett, of the Ipswich Waterpolo Club, said: "I used to swim regularly to keep fit, but I found it got a bit boring after a while, so I wanted to find something that would maintain my fitness, but which would also be fun. That's how I got interested in waterpolo."

The game is played on a pitch marked out in a swimming pool, each team has seven players, and the aim is simply to score by putting the ball into the opponents' goal.

Rolling subs are used after every two or three goals and so the team may have up to 13 players in the side. Players are allowed to swim with the ball or play the ball in the air but they cannot use both hands or hit the ball with a clenched fist.

And the really fun bit is that in order to deal with an opposition player who has the ball you can tackle however you like, within reason. Well, okay, not quite however you like, but it is certainly what you might call a 'contact' sport!

However, bad behaviour and excessive force or violence are not tolerated by any means and players who commit a 'major foul' are dealt with quite severely and sent from the field (pool, that is!) of play.

Waterpolo has been an Olympic sport since 1900 and it is played all around the world. It is particularly popular in Europe, where there are outdoor pools specially devoted to waterpolo events.

Over in England it is not so well-known, but it is becoming increasingly popular.

Ipswich Waterpolo club play in the Eastern Counties League, but the club also cater for little people thanks to their junior section, which is coached by Dick Bloomfield.

Phil said: "We'd love to get some more kids involved and age isn't really an issue with the sport as long as you are a strong swimmer. Anyone is welcome to come along to a training session and have a go."

The club's training sessions take place on Tuesday and Friday nights at Crown Pools in Ipswich, between 8pm and 9.30pm. On Tuesdays the juniors have a game between 8 and 8.45, then the seniors take over after that, while on Fridays the sessions are more oriented towards the senior team. If you would like more information on the club or on waterpolo in general, please contact Phil Trett on 01473 715603 or go along to a session. Spectators are also always welcome.

If you would like your sport featured in Life after Football, please contact or telephone 01473 282342.

Next week: Over hill and down dale…but this time on the back of a trials motorbike.

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