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U.S. Olympic Men’s Water Polo Team Led By Azevedo, First U.S. Player To Compete At Five Olympics

July 07, 2016, 1:10 p.m. (ET)

Tony Azevedo is heading back to Rio.

The U.S. water polo captain was named to his record fifth U.S. Olympic Team on Thursday, and this one will be in the city where he was born.

Azevedo, an attacker who grew up in Southern California but returned to Brazil to play professionally, is one of four returning Olympians on the 13-person squad that was announced on the deck of the USS Midway in San Diego. He’ll become the first U.S. water polo player to compete in five Olympic Games.

Defender Jesse Smith is going to his fourth Olympic Games, while goalie Merrill Moses was selected to his third Olympic team. Center John Mann returns from the 2012 squad.

Rounding out the team are nine Olympic rookies. They are goalie McQuin Baron; defenders Alex Obert and Alex Roelse; center Ben Hallock; and attackers Thomas Dunstan, Josh Samuels, Alex Bowen, Luca Cupido and Bret Bonanni.

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The sixth-ranked U.S. men go to Rio looking to improve upon their eighth-place finish at the London 2012 Olympic Games. They’re coming off a 2015 season in which they won the Pan American Games and finished seventh at the world championships.

It’s been a good year so far for Team USA.

In May, the squad went 6-0 and won the FINA Men's Intercontinental Tournament in Yokohama, Japan, with Cupido scoring the championship-winning goal against Australia with two seconds remaining in the final.

Then, last month, the Americans finished second at the FINA World League Super Final last month in Huizhou, China. Six players scored for Team USA in a 10-6 loss to Serbia in the championship game. The silver medal was the team’s first medal in a major FINA competition since 2008, when Team USA won the Olympic silver medal and World League Super Final silver medal.

After 30 days on the road, the team returned to Southern California to begin preparations for Rio. Team USA faces Montenegro on July 30 in Houston before opening Olympic play on Aug. 6 against defending champion Croatia.

Story for TeamUSA.org via Red Line Editorial, Inc.

Related Athletes

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McQuin Baron

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Bret Bonanni

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Alex Bowen

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Luca Cupido

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John Mann

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Alex Obert

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Alex Roelse

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Jesse Smith

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Tony Azevedo

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Joshua Samuels

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Merrill Moses