Waterpolo History: Iceland

We love learning about how waterpolo originated in various countries and cultures. Today, we are taking a brief look at the history of waterpolo as a competitive sport in the country of Iceland!

History of waterpolo on Iceland starts at the beginning of 19th century. It is not clear how sport appeared on Iceland but most likely it was carried from England. First written evidence we can find in newspapers from 4th of January 1922, where it is talked about New Year’s swimming and waterpolo competition.

From 1927, waterpolo became a regular summer activity on Iceland. First recorded waterpolo games were played in warm lakes during the summer and get a lot of attention from local population. And in 1930´s water polo games were part of all swimming competitions where even admission for watching was charged.

Biggest event in History of Icelandic waterpolo and 1st assembly of national team was participation on summer Olympic Games in Berlin 1936. In a years that followed waterpolo on Iceland was in expansion and even more after opening of few indoor swimming pools which gave the possibility of training even in the winter period. In 1960´s waterpolo grown up to 6 teams participating in annual tournaments. National team was rarely assembled and most of the waterpolo activities were involving local teams. By the 1980´s waterpolo slowly died on Iceland. Lack of structure, lack of referees and often fights during the games were the reason for swimmers to loose interest in participating in waterpolo.

From 2005 a new spark came to Icelandic water polo with the forming of Reykjavik waterpolo team followed by the forming of SH team of Hafnarfjörður in 2008. Those 2 teams were carrying waterpolo until 2019 when new team KR was formed. Currently there are around 80-100 active waterpolo players on Iceland. We have organized many international meets starting with IGLA games 2012 and continue with annual Icelandic open Masters Championships where we were hosting teams from more than 20 countries so far.

Learning from the past we have a new initiative to bring more structure into the waterpolo scene on Iceland. We are currently working on forming our own independent waterpolo federation, establishing an official League, referee’s organization and bettering our connection with other Nordic federations, clubs from Nordic countries and around Europe.

We are working on developing children, youth and women´s waterpolo is on top of our priorities.

We want to invite all players who are coming to visit Iceland to contact us and join us on trainings. Also teams who want to come to visit Iceland or need great place for training camps to get in touch with us so we can help each other while sharing a love for the great game of waterpolo.

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