Water polo in the USA collegiate system

Water Polo is one of the fastest growing sports in the USA. In 1969 at the first NCAA championship there were only 8 varsity sponsored teams. Today there are 116 across the NCAA, NAIA and CCCAA (California Community College Athletic Association).

The level of competition is incredibly high. With no professional water polo tournament in the USA and the high draw to international students, the highest water polo level in the USA is the collegiate system.

This high level of competition plus the academic level of water polo universities makes the recruitment process incredibly competitive. Only 3% of USA based high school water polo players will play at the collegiate level.

While competition is high, scholarships are there. NCAA D1 and D2 schools can offer 4 full scholarships for men, and 8 for women. D3 programs and the CCCAA don’t offer sports scholarships but should never be written off due to their high academic scholarships and often world class facilities. The CCCAA (California Community College Athletic Association)offers students with lower academic marks the opportunity to play for 2 years, receive an Associates Degree and transfer to a university to complete their Bachelor’s degree.

The competitive nature of recruitment in water polo means it’s important to start the process early. Coaches at top level universities often hand out their ‘admissions tickets’ a year in advance, with many players taking a gap year to get into their top school.

If you’re interested in taking the next step to your water polo career please complete our evaluation report.

A Day In the Life of a College Water Polo Player

2021 NCAA men’s water polo final full replay – Cal. vs USC

Success Stories

Current Roster Athletes