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Ever wondered who dominates the splashy arena of water polo?

From precision passes to powerhouse goals, these water warriors epitomize aquatic supremacy.

Buckle up as we dive into the legacies of the best in the pool, one legendary tale at a time.

Best Water Polo Players:

  1. Dezső Gyarmati
  2. Tamas Kasas
  3. Manuel Estiarte
  4. Terry Schroeder
  5. Tamás Faragó
  6. Aleksandar Šapić
  7. Ratko Rudić (Coach)
  8. Péter Biros
  9. Tony Azevedo
  10. Aleksandar Ivović
  11. Andrija Prlainović
  12. Guillermo Molina
  13. Denes Varga

#1 Dezső Gyarmati

  • 🌍 Nationality: Hungarian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: October 23, 1927
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Utility Player
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: 3× Olympic Gold Medalist (1952, 1956, 1964), Olympic Silver Medalist (1948), Olympic Bronze Medalist (1960), World Championship Gold Medalist (1973 – as coach)

Dezső Gyarmati, named “Mr. Water Polo,” was a Hungarian virtuoso in the water, admired for his exceptional game intelligence and formidable defensive skills. Gyarmati’s influence on the game was profound, enhancing team dynamics, and elevating Hungary to its golden era in water polo.

Beyond his athletic prowess, Gyarmati left a lasting impact on water polo as a successful coach, leading his teams to victory in international competitions. His personal life was relatively private compared to his sports fame, but his legacy within water polo and Hungarian athletics remains unmatched, a testament to his contributions on and off the field.

#2 Tamás Kásás

  • 🌍 Nationality: Hungarian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: July 20, 1976
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Defender
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: 3× Olympic Gold Medalist (2000, 2004, 2008), World Championship Gold Medalist (2003), 3× European Champion, 4× FINA World Cup Winner

Renowned as one of the finest defenders in water polo history, Tamás Kásás made his mark with his brilliant tactical understanding and match-winning performances. Kásás’s defensive positioning and goal-scoring abilities set him apart, making him an integral part of the Hungarian national team’s success.

Outside the pool, Kásás has been involved in various water polo-related projects, striving to give back to the sport that defined his career. His devotion to maintaining the high standards of Hungarian water polo has helped nurture future generations of players, ensuring his influence endures in the sport he dominated.

#3 Manuel Estiarte

  • 🌍 Nationality: Spanish
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: October 26, 1961
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Attacker
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: Olympic Gold Medalist (1996), 6× World Championship Silver Medalist, Top scorer in Olympic history (total goals)

Nicknamed “El Fenómeno,” Manuel Estiarte was celebrated for his extraordinary scoring ability and emerged as an iconic figure in water polo. Estiarte’s remarkable precision and keen sense helped him lead the Spanish national team to unprecedented heights.

Estiarte transcended sports, taking roles beyond the pool, including working closely with the famous football manager Pep Guardiola as a staff member at FC Barcelona and Manchester City. His legacy in the sport is not only credited to his athleticism but also to his role in enhancing team strategies and player psychology in top-level football.

#4 Terry Schroeder

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: October 10, 1958
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Centre Back
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: Olympic Silver Medalist (1984, 1988), Bronze Medalist (1972)

Terry Schroeder is a name synonymous with American water polo excellence. He was widely recognized for his strength, leadership, and defensive skill set that made him an invaluable member of the US national team.

Schroeder’s post-water polo career saw him imparting his expertise as a head coach and chiropractor, with his professional endeavors aimed at enhancing athlete performance. Holding a strong presence in sports medicine, he has contributed to the well-being of others, illustrating his multifaceted impact on both sport and society.

#5 Tamás Faragó

  • 🌍 Nationality: Hungarian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: August 22, 1952
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Player and Coach
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: Olympic Gold Medalist (1976), Silver Medalist (1972), Bronze Medalist (1980), World Championship Silver Medalist (1975), European Championship Gold Medalist (1974, 1977)

Tamás Faragó, known for his tactical brilliance and scoring proficiency, played a crucial role in Hungary’s dominance in water polo during the 1970s. Faragó’s career was marked by his ability to find the back of the net under pressure and to outsmart opponents with his game read.

After retiring as a player, Faragó translated his in-pool success to the sidelines as a coach, contributing to the development of new talent. His life outside the pool is one of education and mentorship, demonstrating a commitment to nurturing the sport’s next generation.

#6 Aleksandar Šapić

  • 🌍 Nationality: Serbian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: June 1, 1978
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Centre Forward
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: World Champion (2005), European Champion (2001, 2003, 2006), Olympic Silver Medalist (2004), Bronze Medalist (2000, 2008)

Aleksandar Šapić stood out as a formidable centre forward, his ferocious play and scoring capabilities were instrumental for the Serbian national team’s achievements. A dominant force at the two-meter position, Šapić’s style was a blend of raw power and refined technique.

Transitioning from sports to politics, Šapić has become an influential figure in his native Serbia, showcasing a seamless switch from athletic success to public service. His engagements reflect a dedication to his community and country, contributing significantly to public life after his memorable water polo career.

#7 Ratko Rudić (Coach)

  • 🌍 Nationality: Croatian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: June 7, 1948
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Head Coach
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: 4× Olympic Gold Medalist (with Yugoslavia in 1984 and 1988, with Italy in 1992, and with Croatia in 2012), 3× World Champion as a coach, 3× European Champion as a coach

Ratko Rudić is widely celebrated as one of the most successful water polo coaches in history. His tactical genius and ability to cultivate winning team mentalities have garnered numerous accolades and shaped the careers of countless players.

Rudić’s impact on water polo extends beyond the numerous titles and medals; his methodology and coaching philosophy have set new standards within the sport. Known as the “Water Polo Philosopher,” his influence has been felt across various national teams, reinforcing his legacy as a mentor and game-changer in the coaching realm.

#8 Péter Biros

  • 🌍 Nationality: Hungarian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: February 5, 1976
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Utility Player
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: 3× Olympic Gold Medalist (2000, 2004, 2008), World Champion (2003), 5× European Champion

Péter Biros, known for his versatility and clutch performances, played a pivotal role in maintaining Hungary’s stronghold in international water polo. His name became synonymous with critical goals and consistent play during his storied career.

Beyond his contributions in the water, Biros has remained an ambassador for the sport, promoting its values and continuing Hungary’s rich tradition in water polo. His commitment to excellence and sportsmanship both during and post his athletic career has ensured that his legacy continues to inspire future generations.

#9 Tony Azevedo

  • 🌍 Nationality: American
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: November 21, 1981
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Attacker
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: 4× Olympian, Silver Medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 5× Pan American Games Gold Medalist, 2003 World Championships Silver Medalist

Nicknamed the “Savior of American water polo,” Tony Azevedo’s relentless scoring ability and strategic acumen have solidified his place at the forefront of his sport. He possesses a distinctive style, characterized by his powerful shots and unwavering determination during critical match moments.

Off the pool, Azevedo’s influence extends through his work in youth water polo clinics and his active role in promoting the sport across the United States. His resilience was particularly evident after a near-fatal incident at age four when he fell out of a window, underscoring his journey from recovery to Olympian greatness. Azevedo’s story inspires many within and outside the realm of athletics.

#10 Aleksandar Ivović

  • 🌍 Nationality: Montenegrin
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: February 24, 1986
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Utility player
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: Olympic Silver Medalist (2016), World Championships Bronze Medalist (2013), European Championships Gold Medalist (2008), Multiple LEN Champions League winner

Aleksandar Ivović is renowned for his versatility in the pool, able to play effectively in multiple positions. His robust defensive play, goal-scoring prowess, and tactical intelligence make him an asset to any team. Ivović has often been a decisive factor in high-stakes matches, contributing to his team’s outstanding successes.

Aside from his sporting achievements, Ivović has helped put Montenegrin water polo on the global map, contributing to the growth and popularity of the sport in his home country. Details of his personal life and post-career contributions are not publicly documented within this profile but remain integral to his holistic legacy.

#11 Andrija Prlainović

  • 🌍 Nationality: Serbian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: April 28, 1987
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Attacker
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: Olympic Gold Medalist (2016), World Championships Gold Medalist (2009, 2015), European Championships Gold Medalist (2014, 2016, 2018), Multiple LEN Champions League winner

Andrija Prlainović stands out for his exceptional scoring capabilities and leadership in the water. Equipped with precise passing skills and formidable shooting technique, Prlainović has been instrumental in Serbia’s dominance in international competitions. He is also known for his ability to perform under pressure, delivering match-winning plays for his country and club teams alike.

His contributions to water polo extend to his influence on the next generation of Serbian athletes, as he serves as a model of sportsmanship and dedication. Prlainović’s prominence in the sport is complemented by his commitment to his personal endeavors, although those specifics are not detailed here.

#12 Guillermo Molina

  • 🌍 Nationality: Spanish
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: May 8, 1984
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Center-back
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: World Championships Silver Medalist (2009), European Championships Silver Medalist (2008), Bronze Medalist (2006), Multiple National Championships and Cups in various leagues

Guillermo Molina is recognized for his strong defensive performances and his role as a center-back during critical gameplay moments. His tactical awareness and physical resilience are hallmarks of his playing style, contributing to his reputation as a dependable and impactful player in the water.

Off the pool, lesser-known are Molina’s personal projects or his impact on Spanish water polo beyond his competitive achievements. He’s likely involved in furthering the sport in national, potentially through youth programs or coaching. Specifics about his off-field contributions, however, are not explicitly provided here.

#13 Dénes Varga

  • 🌍 Nationality: Hungarian
  • 🎂 Date of Birth: October 29, 1987
  • 🤽‍♂️ Position/Role: Attacker
  • 🏆 Career Highlights: Olympic Gold Medalist (2008), 3× World Champion (2013, 2017, 2023), 2× European Champion (2014, 2020), 4× World Water Polo Player of the Year

Dénes Varga’s name is synonymous with water polo excellence, widely recognized as one of the top attackers of his generation. His dynamic play includes outstanding ball-handling skills and the ability to score from virtually any position, underlining his status as a formidable offensive player.

Beyond his athletic prowess, Varga is a role model for aspiring Hungarian athletes, representing the enduring strength of Hungary’s water polo heritage. While his private life and societal contributions are not fully detailed, Varga’s influence is felt through his leadership and success in international competition, which continue to inspire and elevate the sport of water polo globally.


Who is the best Water Polo player of all time?

Dezső Gyarmati is the best Water Polo player of all time. Here’s a link to our article on why we think Dezső Gyarmati is the best Water Polo player of all time. His exceptional talent and achievements have made him a legend in the sport.

Who are the top 10 greatest Water Polo players of all time?

Dezső Gyarmati, Tamas Kasas, Manuel Estiarte, Terry Schroeder, Tamás Faragó, Aleksandar Šapić, Ratko Rudić (Coach), Péter Biros, Tony Azevedo, and Magyar Tamás are the top 10 greatest Water Polo players of all time. These players have made significant contributions to the sport, each demonstrating remarkable skills and achieving numerous accolades.

Who is the most famous female Water Polo player?

Maggie Steffens is the most famous female Water Polo player. As a dominant force in international water polo, her skillful performances and leadership have earned her widespread recognition and several Olympic gold medals.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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