The 13-man strong Australian Olympic Men’s Water Polo Team was announced today by the Australian Olympic Committee.
Two four-time Olympians will take to the pool again, veterans Rhys Howden and Richie Campbell still searching for an elusive Olympic medal. The pair equal the Australian Olympic Water Polo record.
Making a splash alongside them will be Aidan Roach, Joel Dennerley and Aaron Younger at their third Games.
28-year-old George Ford rounds out the returning members for his second Games, while seven players make their Olympic debut.
Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo, Ian Chesterman, congratulated both the returning and new team members.
“Congratulations to the players selected today, it’s a fantastic achievement,” Mr Chesterman said.
“While the players are hard at work in camp in Canberra, I’m sure their very proud families, friends, clubs and supporters around the country are celebrating this Olympic milestone.
“This has been an exceptionally committed Olympic quad for the Sharks who have overcome many obstacles along the way to be ready to match it with the best in the world in Tokyo.
“I want to particularly highlight Rhys and Richie, both making a remarkable fourth Australian Olympic Team.
“Making one Olympic Team is a special achievement, to make four shows incredible talent, determination and commitment to excellence.”
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The Sharks come into Tokyo 2020 on strong form. This includes winning silver at the 2018 World Cup and bronze at the 2019 FINA World League Super Final.
They overcame Japan 10-8 after qualifying at the top of their group of the World Final, before falling short to Serbia in the Super Final.
An 11-10 victory over Spain in the third place match would eventually earn them the bronze.
Captain Aaron Younger is taking their strong results into Tokyo 2020 with confidence.
“It is an incredible moment for me, especially to be able to lead such a special group of guys,” Younger said.
“The guys make my job as captain really easy, but to be leading this group that has been working together for so long means a lot to me.
“We have spent the last four years together building for this moment, so to finally be able to go there is a great feeling. Everyone has really taken on a new energy, it should be a good experience for everyone.
“For the team, the biggest thing is the results we have achieved together over the last four years. The results that we have achieved in this cycle will give us confidence going into the Games.
“We need to hit the ground running when we get to Tokyo and be ready from that first moment and start from where we finished off two years ago at the World Championships.”
Fresh faces take to the water
For brothers Blake and Lachlan Edwards, they’ll get to make their Olympic debut together.
The pair were selected alongside five other debutants, and another pair of brothers. Andrew and George Ford will be hitting the Olympic pool together for the first time, though George also attended Rio 2016.
Blake says it’s an incredibly special moment.
“It’s a massive privilege and honour to be selected on the Olympic team, but to be able to share that with my brother as well is something really special,” Edwards said.
“We’ve got a lot of experience in the team, mixed with some debutants like myself. But the game doesn’t change, we’ve played water polo our whole lives and we just have to stay focused on our processes.
“We’ve done all the preparation that we can to put ourselves in the best position possible, so we just need to trust in that and enjoy the moment.”
Coach Elvis Fatovic will be guiding the Sharks to his second Olympics at the helm.
Having seen such success already, Fatovic is ready to see the team take the next step and make waves on the Olympics stage.
“While it is very exciting to finally be able to announce our team, after so much hard work has been put in over the last 18 months, it is also mixed emotions as we won’t be able to take our full squad with us,” Fatovic said.
“We congratulate the 13 players selected but we want to thank those who also didn’t make the team but have helped get us to the Olympics.
“The strength of this team is in just how much time they have spent together… they are so familiar with each other which will be helpful in a team sport.
“We can’t wait to have our first scrimmage against the USA before we get to Tokyo, which is where we will reconnect with our captain Aaron Younger.
“In the last cycle we have delivered great results at the World League Finals, World Cup and now we can’t wait for the first competition to get underway in Tokyo.”
Read the full list of Sharks off to Tokyo here:
|Richie Campbell||33||4th (2008, 2012, 2016)|
|Joel Dennerley||34||3rd (2012, 2016)|
|George Ford||28||2nd (2016)|
|Rhys Howden||34||4th (2008, 2012, 2016)|
|Aidan Roach||30||3rd (2012, 2016)|
|Aaron Younger||29||3rd (2012, 2016)|
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