Argentine Water Polo Legend, Osvaldo Horacio Codaro, Inducted into ISHOF

Osvardo Codaro on the cover of El Grafico in 1950 - Photo Courtesy: ISHOF

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced today that water polo great, Osvaldo Horacio Codaro, of Argentina, will become one of seventeen (17) honorees to enter the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017. Codaro is the sixth individual to be named for ceremonies to be held August 25-27, in Fort Lauderdale.

Previously, swimmers Wu Chuanyu (CHN) and Takeshi “Halo” Hirose (USA), diver Zhang Xiuwei (CHN), long distance swimmer Walter Poenisch (USA) and photojournalist Heinz Kluetmeier have been announced. Codaro, a water polo player, will enter the Hall of Fame in the Pioneer category. The Pioneer Category of Honoree Selection was established to recognize individuals whose careers were interrupted by war or politics, or whose great accomplishments or inspirational stories have been overlooked in the fog of time.

Affectionately known as “Pacha”, Osvaldo Horacio Codaro was born on December 9, 1930. He started to swim at age ten and began playing water polo at the age of 14 for his lifetime coach, Santiago Gentile, with Club Athletico Independiente. In 1954, he moved to Club Comunicaciones for seven years and Club Athletico Boca from 1962 to 1971. He was the outstanding player in the Americas for more than a decade, and was recognized as one of the world’s best, he did not have the support of a “great team” behind him.

Codaro participated in five Pan American Games, almost singlehandedly leading his team to gold medals over the team from the United States in both 1951 and 1955. He played in three Olympic Games, the first as a 17 year old in 1948, at Helsinki in 1952 and at the 1960 Olympic Games of Rome, where in spite of his teams’ 9th place finish, he was considered to be the “third best player in the world.” At the physical peak of his career, Argentina could not afford to send its team to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne Australia. Codaro was one of the first great “Big Men” – appreciated for his exceptional physical strength, ball handling skills and understanding of the game.

Over his 27 years playing water polo, his teams won the Argentinian National Championships 22 times. Osvaldo retired from competition at the age of 42, after participating in the Pan American Games in 1971. He served as head coach of the Men’s National Water Polo Team from 1975 to 1981 and was President of the Federation de Water Polo in Buenos Aires from 1985 to 1988. Codaro becomes the fifth athlete from Argentina to join the ISHOF.

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Codaro began playing at a time when Europe was ravaged by war and when South America water polo was active, vibrant and made many significant contributions to the tactics and rules, including movement during “dead-time” (later adopted by FINA) and counting “ordinary” fouls as “personal” fouls – which was not. He was of the great players to emerge during this era and his induction into the ISHOF also gives recognition to the contributions of South America to the sport of water polo.


The International Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is a not-for- profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its mission is to promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all adults and children.  It accomplishes this through operation of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, a dynamic shrine dedicated to preserving the history of swimming, the memory and recognition of the famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers and people involved in life saving activities and education whose lives and accomplishments inspire, educate, and provide role models for people around the world. For more information contact Bruce Wigo at 954-462-6536 ext. 201, or by email

Press release courtesy of ISHOF