How NCAA women's water polo works
The GIST: Thanks to the NCAA Emerging Sport Program, the country’s catching on to what California’s known for years — women’s water polo rules college’s spring pool. Nearly half of the 66 programs across Division I (37), II (10), and III (19) are in the Golden State, but if you’re not a water polo–lovin’ Californian, here’s a roadmap to the rules.
How it works: Water polo is 7-on-7 soccer, but with basketball’s shot clock, ice hockey’s power plays, and wrestling’s physicality…while treading water the whole freaking time. That’s four seven-minute quarters of balls-to-the-wall cardio. This video covers the basics of scoring, pool dimensions, fouling, and penalties to give you the gist of it. *wink*
The powerhouses: No surprises here — the California gurls run this sh!t. Since the first national championship in 2001, every single Division I (DI) title has been won by either UCLA (seven ’ships), USC (six), or Stanford (nine). And all but three of Team USA’s 18 women play or played for one of those universities, and only two hail from outside CA.