Water polo

My sporting origins: Yanos Galiatsatos

Gwangju South Korea 11/07/2019 Venues Beach Water Polo 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships Nambu University Aquatics Center Photo © G.Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto/Sipa USA

Every sports person knows the exact moment they fell in love with their sport of choice, and that was no different with Yanos Galiatsatos, a member of the University of Sunderland’s Swimming and Water Polo society.

To begin this story we had to go back to Athens in the year 2000.

Yanos started swimming at the age of three, he said: “My parents got me learning from a young age, they wanted me to learn how to survive in the water because it’s a very essential skill. From that day I never stopped swimming!”

His talent and love for swimming led him to start competing, he continued: “Then when I turned eight I started entering competitions in my home country Greece, there would be big conferences, it was a really big thing.”

However a still young Yanos he decided that he wanted to do more in the pool then just swim, he said: “I turned 12 and stopped swimming competitively; I still liked the idea of being in the water though. I looked into alternatives such as diving but I settled on Water Polo. I liked the competitiveness; I’m a very competitive boy!”

Yanos claims that his love for Water Polo rivals “how the other boys love football” after becoming infatuated with the sport from the very first time playing it, citing the ‘physicality, competitiveness and the fact that it’s a great form of exercise’ as his reasons.

“I play as a centre forward, in Water Polo it’s a position where you either bully or get bullied, you have to get quick shots off” he added.

 Yanos also states that to be a successful centre forward in Water Polo that you have to have a mixture of “quick thinking, agility and strength.”

Since coming to England, Yanos has noticed a difference on how the sport is received, he said: “Coming to Sunderland, I was aware of the Swimming and Water Polo society, however I was also aware that it wasn’t going to be as big here compared to Greece.”

He continued: “the facilities weren’t the same over here, but that was okay, I still thought let me give it a go.” He continued saying: “I liked it but it lacked the competitiveness to me, I noticed people were in it for the exercise and some so that they could learn to swim. It was different.”

He added: “I would definitely recommend the society to others though, as I said it’s a great form of exercise and a way to make new friends.”