The strength of the NSW Institute of Sport’s (NSWIS) Men’s Water Polo Program has been illustrated with 11 athletes named onto the 13-strong Australian team for Tokyo.
Announced by the Australian Olympic Committee on Thursday, the team will feature 10 NSWIS scholarship holders (four joint scholarships) and one training agreement athlete, with the Institute set to play a dominant role in the Tokyo 2020 campaign.
Rhys Howden and Richie Campbell (NSWIS) will equal the Australian Olympic Water Polo record making their fourth Olympic Team, while Aidan Roach (NSWIS), Joel Dennerley (NSWIS) and Aaron Younger return for their third Games.
The team boasts strong family connections, with two sets of brothers – Blake and Lachlan Edwards (NSWIS) and George and Andrew Ford (NSWIS / WAIS) – making up a significant portion of the squad.
Blake Edwards spoke about the thrill of making his debut in Tokyo alongside younger brother Lachlan.
“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.”
Aussie Sharks Head Coach, Elvis Fatovic paid tribute to the entire men’s squad.
“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.”
The Aussie Sharks have had one of their most successful Olympic quads, winning silver in the 2018 World Cup and bronze in the 2019 FINA World League Final.
The Sharks have been drawn in pool B with three of the top four finishers from Rio 2016 in Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, as well as 2019 World Championship silver medallists Spain, and Kazakhstan. They will open their campaign on 25 July against Montenegro.
AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TEAM FOR TOKYO – WATER POLO MEN
|Richie Campbell (NSWIS)||4th (2008, 2012, 2016)|
|Joel Dennerley (NSWIS)||3rd (2012, 2016)|
|Lachlan Edwards (NSWIS)||Debut|
|Blake Edwards (NSWIS)||Debut|
|Andrew Ford (NSWIS/WAIS)||Debut|
|George Ford (NSWIS/WAIS)||2nd (2016)|
|Rhys Howden||4th (2008, 2012, 2016)|
|Anthony Hrysanthos (NSWIS)||Debut|
|Nathan Power (NSWIS)||Debut|
|Timothy Putt (NSWIS/WAIS)||Debut|
|Aidan Roach (NSWIS)||3rd (2012, 2016)|
|Goran Tomasevic (NSWIS)||Debut|
|Aaron Younger||3rd (2012, 2016)|