Many celebrities and famous people played water polo. Check out the list with some well-known names.
Paul is a Grammy award-winning artist that collaborated with other successful artists such as Beyonce, Sia and Rihanna. Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques was born in 1973 in Kingstone, Jamaica. His family has a history of both art and aquatic sports. His mother was a painter and a swimmer whereas his grandfather played water polo. Paul’s father also played the sport for the Jamaican men’s national team in the 1960s. Sean Paul himself played the sport for the national water polo team of Jamaica from the age of 13 until the age of 21. In 1989 and 1991 Paul played water polo for the Jamaican national team at CARIFTA games.
As time went by he got more interested in music. He started pursuing a musical career which resulted in less time for playing water polo. However, he never forgot about the sport and the benefits he received from it. In one recent interview, Paul said that the sport deeply affected his career and gave him much needed self-discipline. When asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t doing music he said he would probably be at the pool swimming or playing water polo.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince William is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales. He is second in the line of succession to the British throne. Right after his father. The future king of the United Kingdom started playing water polo at Eton College amongst other sports such as football and swimming. In 2001 he enrolled at the University of St Andrews where he was a captain of their water polo team. While at St Andrew’s, he represented the Scottish national universities water polo team at the Celtic Nations tournament in 2004.
Prince William showed his love for the sport in 2005. He attended a water polo event in west Auckland during his visit to New Zealand. He hoped to raise the profile of the sport to teenagers. In 2012 he seized the opportunity when London hosted the Olympic Games. Prince attended one of the water polo games. He watched a match between Great Britain and Serbia. However, he wasn’t the happiest since his team lost 21:7. During the game, he supposedly even said he wanted to start playing the sport again.
Prince William was also a Patron of the English Schools’ Swimming Association (ESSA). In the hope to encourage school children to learn to swim and compete in water sports he said:
“Having swum and played water polo throughout my days at school and university, I am well aware of the great benefits and pleasure that can be derived from them.”
“As Patron, therefore, I look forward to doing whatever I can to help children and young people in England become more physically active and healthy through fostering their enjoyment of swimming, diving and water polo; activities from which everyone can get great satisfaction all through life.”
Literary giant and a Pulitzer Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway, is considered one of the most famous American writers of the 20th century. Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Ernest attended Oak Park and River Forest High School from 1913 until 1917. He was involved with numerous sports including water polo. He was also interested in boxing and football. During his time there Hemingway excelled in English classes, edited the school’s newspaper and began to write. Therefore, having less time and interest in playing water polo. Shortly after, in 1918, he joined World War I. One of the first Hemingway’s published works (in 1923) was a collection of shorts stories and poems called Three Stories and Ten Poems. In 1952 he wrote his masterpiece The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway received the Noble Prize in Literature in 1954.
Steven Lee Smith is a former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of space flights and spacewalks. Smith received many awards and honours during his lifetime. He received prestigious awards such as NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He attended Stanford University and was a seven-time high school and collegiate All-American in both swimming and water polo. Moreover, two-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Champion in water polo. He was also captain of the 1980 Stanford University Men’s Water Polo Team that won the NCAA Championship.
His most famous spacewalks included repairing Hubble Space Telescope.
Name that is widely recognized for the Hubble Space Telescope, named in his honour. Edwin Powell Hubble was an American astronomer who lived from 1889 until 1953. Hubble proved that numerous objects that were thought to be clouds of dust and gas were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way. His observations proved that the universe was considerably greater than previously thought. Hubble’s work also contributed to the theory of an expanding universe.
Hubble attended Oxford University where he showed a wide range of interests. At Oxford, he studied Roman law and Spanish. In addition, he competed in track and field events and he played water polo for the university’s team.
Clayton was born in 1987 in California is an American actor of German and Italian descent and he is well known for his role of Ethan Craft from hit series Lizzie McGuire. He also appeared in TV series such as Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party, Rules of Engagement, Navy CIS. Clayton also plays the guitar and enjoys playing water polo.
Snyder went to Pepperdine University and majored in Film Studies. He was a member of their water polo team from 2006 to 2009. During his college years, he scored 119 goals. As a senior in 2009, he earned All-America Honorable Mention. Clayton decided to pursue his acting career but he never forgot about the sport and he is still active in LA Athletic Club. His team played in EU Nations Cup 2019, where they won the silver medal. In one interview he said: “Water polo helped me with a lot of life lessons and character and how to deal with people and how to carry yourself.”
NBA star Bojan Bogdanović is a Croatian professional basketball player. He was born in 1989 in Mostar. He represented basketball clubs such as Real Madrid, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Indian Pacers. Bogdanović is currently playing for an NBA team Utah Jazz. He is also an Olympian. He represented Croatia at the Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
As a young boy, Bojan trained both basketball and water polo until he was 16 years old. He played the sport mostly in the city of Neum. However, his basketball talents prevailed and the aquatic sport became just a hobby. Bogdanović said that while on vacation he likes to swim and play water polo to stay in shape. In the city of Dubrovnik, he is also famous for flirting with the idea to play Dubrovnik’s water polo Wild League. However, the people of Dubrovnik are still waiting for that to see.
“Bogie” can also be seen at water polo events from time to time. Last summer he was seen in Dubrovnik at the Regional League finals, a match between “Jug” and “Mladost”. He even joined “Jug” by becoming a member.
Brinkman was born in 1989 in Santa Monica, California, USA. He is an American actor and cinematographer. Cameron appeared in movies such as Hunger Games and La La Land. He appeared in the TV series Shameless. Moreover, he was a part of MTV’s hit reality series Laguna Beach. Cameron Brinkman played water polo for Laguna Beach High School. He was also a member of Laguna Beach W.P. Club and Breakers W. P. Club.
Popular movie star that got famous for acting in numerous action-comedies and Spaghetti Westerns also played water polo professionally. He appeared in legendary movies such as Watch Out, We’re Mad, Miami Supercops, Odds and Evens, Crime Busters and many more. Bud Spencer was born in 1929 in Italy as Carlo Pedersoli. He had a law degree and was a certified commercial airline and helicopter pilot. He was also known for his charity work.
When it comes to his athletic history he was a good swimmer as well. In 1950 Carlo Pedersoli became the first Italian to swim 100 meters freestyle in less than one minute. In Helsinki at the Olympic Games in 1952 and at the Olympic Games in 1956 in Melbourne he competed at swimming events. Spencer was also a good water polo player. He won the Italian Championship in 1954 with the team of S.S. Lazio. The year after that he won the gold medal with Italy at the Mediterranean Games in Barcelona.
Bud Spencer even started doing politics at one point in his life. In 2005 he entered the political arena and said: “In my life, I’ve done everything. There are only three things I haven’t been – a ballet dancer, a jockey and a politician. Given that the first two jobs are out of the question, I’ll throw myself into politics.”
Bud Spencer died in Rome in 2016 at the age of 86.
Leslie Thomas Harley was an Australian boxer. He competed at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. That year in Berlin he was eliminated in the second round of the light heavyweight class. He lost to a Czech boxer František Havelka. In Sidney in 1938 at the British Empire Games (now known as The Commonwealth Games), he won a bronze medal in the heavyweight class. He was an amateur boxing champion of Australia on numerous occasions and in different weight classes. Leslie Harley also represented Australia in both water polo and soccer. However, he was more interested in boxing, soccer and Australian football since he trained and competed in those sports more than he ever did in water polo.
Aristotle Socrates Onassis lived from 1906 until 1975. He was a Greek shipping magnate. He had the world’s largest privately owned shipping fleet. At one point he was one of the richest and most famous men on the planet. He married Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968, the widow of the American president John F. Kennedy who was assassinated in 1963.
Onassis played water polo in 1922. In August of the same year, the Greek club from the city of Smyrna (the modern name of the city is Izmir) called “Pelops” organised a water polo competition in the Gulf of Smyrna. 16-year old Aristotle Socrates Onassis and future tycoon was one of the players that participated in that water polo event. However, Onnasis never played the sport professionally.
Havelange was born in the year 1916, in Rio de Janeiro. He also died in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 at the age of 100. He was a Brazilian lawyer, water polo player and president of FIFA for more than two decades (1974-1998). Havelange also served as a member of the International Olympic Committee. He was even once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Jean-Marie Faustin Godefroid “João” de Havelange participated at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin as a swimmer. At the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, he played water polo for the national team of Brazil. However, they didn’t win any medals in that tournament. Brazil with Havelange in their team won a silver medal in water polo at Pan American Games held in Buenos Aries in 1951. After swimming and playing water polo, he dedicated his life to sports administration. He occupied numerous key positions at national and international levels.
One of the best goalkeepers in the world and a football legend is also fond of the aquatic sport. Manuel Peter Neuer was born in Germany in 1986. He plays football for Bayern Munchen and for the German national team. He won UEFA Champion League two times and a World Cup in 2014 that was held in Brazil. In addition, he won Bundesliga on numerous occasions. Last year, in 2020, Neuer was named The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper.
Neuer can be seen in Croatia from time to time. In the summer of 2020, he came to Croatia on holiday. Between a number of places he visited, one of his stops was the Island of Sipan. There he met, not football but, water polo legend and Pro Recco’s Niksa Dobud (Olympic gold medallist from London 2012). They played water polo in the sea and Neuer showed his goalkeeping skills. Dobud even gave him a one-of-a-kind water polo goalkeeper’s cap with the Bayern Munich logo and judging by the pictures they obviously had fun.
The American actress is best known for appearing in movies and TV series such as Made of Honour, Person of Interest, The Good Wife and Gossip Girl. Annalaina also appeared on America’s Next Top Model. She was a three-time high school water polo All-American. Moreover, she played water polo for the New York Athletic Club.
In one interview Marks said: “Water polo was a huge part of my life…something that I was super passionate about.”
While participating in the ad campaign “I Am Water Polo” she shared her obsession with water polo saying everyone should play the sport.
Actor, swimmer and water polo player is best known for portraying Tarzan on the big screen. After playing the role of Tarzan in 1932 in the movie Tarzan the Ape Man Johnny became an overnight international sensation. He was the sixth actor to play the role of Tarzan. Overall, he appeared in 12 different Tarzan movies.
Weissmuller was also a great swimmer. Some consider him to be one of the best to ever do it. He won five gold medals at the Olympics. Three at the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924 and two at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928. Johnny was 52 times the national champion of the USA. He set 67 world records. He was the first to swim 100-meters freestyle under one minute. According to some sources he never even lost a swimming competition.
At the 1924 Olympics, besides three gold medals in swimming, he won a bronze water polo medal with the USA. He once said: “Water polo’s a rough game. That’s where I learned to duck. It came in handy when Cheetah started throwing coconuts.”
Johnny Weismuller died in 1984, at the age of 79 in Acapulco, Mexico.
Al Bundy’s neighbour was also a good water polo player. Ted McGinley is an American actor born in 1958. He is best known for playing Jefferson D’Arcy in the TV series Married with Children. He shared the screen with Ed O’Neill and Christina Applegate. McGinley also appeared in the movie Revenge of the Nerds.
Theodore Martin McGinley was born in California in 1958. In high school, he was a swimmer and a water polo player. He attended the University of Southern California on a water polo scholarship. Ted was captain of their water polo team. However, he dropped out of USC when he moved to New York in order to pursue his acting dreams. In one interview he said that the scholarship at the USC and playing water polo there was “the greatest thing that ever happened to me”.
Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Volodymyrovych Klitschko are famous Ukrainian brothers and boxing legends. Wladimir retired and holds the record for the longest cumulative heavyweight title reign of all time. Vitali won multiple world heavyweight championships in his prime. Vitali is currently the Mayor of Kyiv. Brothers even entered the book of Guinness World Records. They entered as brothers who won the most boxing heavyweight world title fights.
In 2006 Klitschko brothers participated in an exhibition water polo match. On the first day of Aquatics 2006 at the Rothenbaum Stadium in the German city of Hamburg, a water polo match was held. Wladimir took a goalkeeper’s water polo cap and showed his goalkeeping water polo skills. Whereas Vitali played and judging by the pictures they both enjoyed a good water polo match.
NBA star Nikola Jokić is often praised for showing his water polo skills on the basketball court. 26-year old silver Olympian from Serbia has been playing basketball for Denver Nuggets since 2015 and during that period many noticed he is no stranger to water polo. Which makes sense since he is from Serbia, a water polo country. His water polo skills were noticed by many, including ESPN and the New York Times. In the interview for ESPN, he mentioned his love for many other sports besides basketball, including the only aquatic sport played with a ball. According to Nikola, growing up in Sombor, Serbia he often enjoyed being in the water tossing a water polo ball around with his brothers and friends. However, he never played the sport formally. The New York Times concluded that even though “the Joker” is a basketball genius he has a “water polo mind”.
Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku was a member of the Hawaiian Royal Family. He was a swimmer, surfer and water polo player. He competed in swimming at the Olympic Games in 1912 where he won a gold medal. Moreover, at the Olympics in Antwerp in 1920 he won two gold medals. Whereas at the Games in Paris in 1924 he won the silver medal, losing the gold to Johnny Weissmuller.
At the Games in 1932, held in Los Angeles, Duke was a backup player for the USA water polo team that won the bronze medal. He was also involved with the Los Angeles Athletic Club where, besides acting as a lifeguard, he competed in both swimming and water polo teams. Duke Kahanamoku helped in popularizing the sport of surfing, appeared on film and was even a Sheriff of Honolulu. He died in 1968, at the age of 77.
Sir Alexander Fleming
Alexander Fleming lived from 1881 until 1955. He was a Scottish physician and microbiologist. Fleming is best known for discovering penicillin. Sir Alexander Fleming was knighted in 1944. In 1955 he won the Nobel Prize honouring his discovery. Time magazine named him on the list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
Fleming played water polo for the London Scottish Regiment. He once competed against St Mary’s Hospital and was impressed by their fellowship and their sportsmanship. Later when he had to choose between different schools he chose St Mary’s Medical School in London because they left a good impression on him when he played water polo against them. Some even say that he chose them because they were the only medical school with a water polo team. When St Mary’s swimming pool was announced to be closed in 2018 a petition was launched. A petition was launched to save St Mary’s swimming pool stating one of the most important reasons for saving it was the fact that Sir Alexander Fleming had played water polo there.
Actor, producer and football legend Eric Cantona never played water polo formally or professionally. However, he played the sport in one commercial for Lipton’s Ice Tea. Very interesting commercial where he showed more his football skills than his water polo skills even though he was in the pool. Nonetheless, a very interesting commercial that brought together a football legend and the sport of aquatic football.