Project Description

Inner Tube Water Polo

Overview & Examples

Inner tube water polo (ITWP) is a variation of the sport water polo with the important difference that players are required to float in inflatable inner tubes. By floating in an inner tube, players experience less contact and expend less energy than traditional water polo players, not having to tread water. This allows casual players to enjoy water polo without undertaking the intense conditioning required for conventional water polo.

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Traditional Formats

Many intramural programs offer inner tube water polo in co-rec format only, although men’s, women’s, and open (mixed) leagues are also offered by some institutions. While some offer league play, others offer inner tube water polo in a tournament setting.


Intramural programs typically referee inner tube water polo with one or two officials. The officials stand outside the pool and monitor play, based on the rules set forth by the individual program.


There is no standard set of rules governing inner tube water polo. Therefore, intramural programs have the liberty to design their own set of rules that cater to their individual needs and desires.

Notes & Variations

Game length varies among the programs, ranging from 12 to 20 minutes per half. However, in virtually all programs, the clock runs continuously.

Programs also differ on the rules governing the goalie and what he/she is allowed to do in order to prevent goals from being scored.

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NIRSA Intramural Sports Community of Practice