Water Polo guide - London 2012 Olympic Games

Your complete guide to water polo ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Photograph: Waterpolo via Shutterstock

Converted: The most exciting thing to happen in a swimming pool since the video to ‘Club Tropicana’.

Confused: Glorified splashing games.

RECOMMENDED: See our full list of London 2012 Olympic sport guides

Water Polo - The essential guide

Street cred: In the nineteenth century water polo had a reputation for extreme violence, like an aquatic form of rugby. It can still get a bit tasty.

Who’s good? The water polo mad Hungarians have won three consecutive Olympic golds in the men's event.

The basics: When a team has the ball, they have 30 seconds to score before it passes to the opposition.  You can't put two hands on the ball at the same time, unless you're the goalie.

Athlete to watch: Talented teenager Nathan Kotylak was tipped to be a star of Canada's Olympic squad until he was suspended from the national games over allegations he took part in a post-hockey-game riot in June.  He may not go now.

As seen in: 'Children of Glory', which follows the true story of Hungary's grudge match against the USSR in the 1956 Olympics.  The grudge being the failed Hungarian uprising against Soviet tyranny earlier the same year.  Hungary prevailed 4-0 in a contest so rough it became known as 'blood in the water match'.

Do say: 'This fast and feisty battle is one of the most misunderstood events at London 2012'.

Don't say:  'But where are they going to put the horses?'