Masters Water Polo

South African Masters water polo history, as recorded on their website -



Back in the pre 1990,s many water polo players were taking part in the annual SA Masters Swimming Championships, and to this day still do.

In 1988 the polo players talked about arranging some polo matches amongst themselves at the Swim Champs, and so in Cape Town the first unofficial matches took place in the diving pool at Newlands.

These matches proved a huge success, and the interested parties set about arranging an annual Masters Water Polo Tournament to be held at the same time and venue as the Swimming.


John Wells, Neville Clarence and Mango Toet from Transvaal, Paul Semple and Mike Samuels from Natal, Gordon Currie and Neville Davies from Western Province, Carl Dyason from Northern Transvaal, and Eddie Wepener from Eastern Transvaal proceeded to inaugurate the provincial bodies of Masters Water Polo in their provinces, and so the Masters Water Polo movement was born.

At the 1st AGM prior to the 1st Tournament at the beach baths in Durban in 1989, Paul Semple was elected SA Masters Chairman, with the other above named gentlemen becoming committee members representing their Provinces.

John Wells saw to the birth of our Constitution and then affiliated Masters Water Polo to FINA through SAASU, as Masters Swimming had done.


2013 sees the 25th Annual Tournament taking place in the Cape Winelands, after many successful Tournaments having been run in Johannesburg 2, Port Elizabeth 2, Pretoria 1, Bulawayo 1, Knysna 2, and the rest shared between Durban, Cape Town, and East London.

The current format, due to increased entries, calls for one venue to have 3 polo fields, and so only the last 3 venues mentioned qualify.


The International age groupings are 30+, 35+ and so on, until the oldest group who entered the last International Aquatic Champs in 2012 in Italy, being 65+.

In International rules, the youngest player in the team determines the age group that team plays in.

Due to our low numbers, we had to start small – in the beginning only 30+, then 30+and 40+, then 30+ and 45+, to where we are at present with 30+, 40+ and 50+.

No doubt this will move on shortly to add 60+.

To accommodate the 10 year age gap and disparity, handicapping was also introduced.


10 and 20 year costume awards were also introduced to reward those who made the effort in attendance.

At the 2013 Tournament the following players will have achieved a 100% attendance record – Neville Clarence, Paul Semple, Mike Samuels, Ted Townsend and Norman Mannheimer.


Originally entries were by Provinces, and then as the movement grew, Club sides took over with the following general results :

30+ was dominated in the beginning by Transvaal and Natal; thereafter by Saints and DHS in the early days; by QP Geezers and Saints, and then Border and Clifton, with QP Geezers making a late comeback.

40+ everyone had their turn here with Old Eds, Easterns, Zimnat, and latterly Coelecanths, Rondebosch and Crusaders dominant.

50 + dominated by Old Eds initially, and lately by Marists Old Boys and Coelecanths.

All the results will be found on the web site


The World Masters Aquatic Championships are held around the world every two years, with the World Masters Water Polo Championships being held in Hungary every two years as well.

South African teams have distinguished themselves at these Tournaments in the past, bringing home 4 bronze medals, no mean feat considering the strength of European and USA Masters water polo.

Generally the international tournaments have been poorly attended by SA teams.


At present the SA MASTERS movement is strong, with the 3 main provincial hosts going out of their way to ensure a high level competence at every annual Tournament.

Of the old school remaining Neville Clarence is the SA Masters Chairman, with Paul Semple and Neville Davies still serving on the Board.

Newcomers making a name for themselves administratively are Ian van Zyl, SA Masters Secretary and Brett Redelinghuys Western Province Board member.

Neville Clarence

25th Annual Masters Water Polo

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hillcrest Estate recently hosted the 25th Annual Masters Water polo event, and what a skeptical it was! Teams from all over SA, as well as the USA national side, traveled to take part in this tournament which was played in our quarry dam.

Offering a unique and fun-filled 3 days, this was an experience not to be missed. Not even the loss of our boys in green and gold to the USA could put a dampener on it.

Charnell Times did a fantastic job capturing the spirit of the day with these amazing photographs.


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