From the Super Mario Wiki
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Water Polo is an Aquatics Event that exclusively appears in the Nintendo 3DS version of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The aim of the event is to score more points than the opposition by scoring goals. This event does not appear at all in the story mode.
In this event, the player chooses a pair of Challengers against a pair made up of the other two. The game starts with the ball in the middle of the pool, and the player must tap alternately left and right on the touch screen to swim up to it. After a short while, the ball will drift towards one side of the pool and the player must tap on the side of the screen that the ball is drifting towards to reach it. If the player is the first to reach the ball, they are given a chance to shoot. The player must choose a direction to shoot the ball in from left, right and straight to the middle by sliding in the direction, or upwards for the middle. The player only has a limited amount of time to shoot, and if they fail to choose a direction within the time the ball will just be shot straight. If the ball gets past the goalie, they will score a point. Once one of the teams has scored, the ball goes back to the middle of the pool and the goalie and player swap over. If the other team are the first to get to the ball, they will have a chance to score, and the player must tap on the screen to pick a side of the goal to move to, though they will remain in the middle if they do not tap. If the player manages to catch the ball, they will throw it to their teammate and they will then get a chance to score. The first team to three points wins. In this event, the player only plays one match, so it is impossible for them to achieve a position below second, although on the results screen teams of two Koopa Troopas and Chao will appear in third and fourth place.
Touch left and right to swim to the ball!