Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): Francisco Márquez Olympic Swimming Pool, Ciudad de México; University Olympic Pool, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Ciudad de México
Date Started: October 14, 1968
Date Finished: October 26, 1968
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
At the last four Olympics the top four teams had been Hungary, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and Italy, with Hungary winning gold in 1952, 1956, and 1964 (Italy won in 1960), and Yugoslavia taking silver in those same years. The same four teams again made the semi-finals with Hungary winning Group A over the Soviet Union and Italy winning Group B over Yugoslavia. In the semi-finals Yugoslavia defeated Hungary 8-6, to end 16 years of Olympic water polo defeats to them, and the Soviet Union, the 1966 European Champion, bested Italy in the other semi, 8-5. Yugoslavia won the gold medal match over the Soviets, 13-11, despite seven goals by Oleksiy Barkalov. Hungary won the bronze medal match over Italy, 9-4, also led by seven goals from László Felkai.
Although his team finished only seventh, the Netherlands’ Nico van der Voet led all scorers with 33 goals in nine matches. Records for goal scoring at many earlier Olympics are not fully known, but this was also an all-time Olympic record for one Games, shattering the previous known best of 14 by Phil Daubenspeck for the United States in 1932. Van der Voet’s mark has not been beaten, and only been equalled once since at the Olympics, by Spain’s Manuel Estiarte at the 1984 Olympics with 33 goals. Van der Voet had also been the leading scorer at Tokyo in 1964, but with only 10 goals.