This was the most international of any water polo tournament to this date, with 12 nations competing, out of 14 who entered, with Canada and Australia withdrawing. Great Britain was the defending champion, having won in both 1908 and 1912, and made it a three-peat. They had a walkover in round one, when Canada withdrew, then crushed Spain and the United States to make the final, where they won a narrow victory over Belgium, 3-2. The water polo tournament was held at the Stade Nautique d’Anvers, which also hosted the swimming and diving competition in 1920.
Although women would not compete in water polo at the Olympics officially until 2000, a women’s demonstration water polo match was played in 1920 between two Dutch clubs.