The United States Olympic Men's Water Polo Team has announced the 13 athletes that will be nominated to represent Team USA at the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, following a silver medal run at the FINA World League Super Final in Tbilisi, Georgia. Team USA punched their ticket to Tokyo with a gold medal finish at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Final approval of the selections is required by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and will be announced at a later date.
Veteran Jesse Smith heads to his USA Water Polo record-tying fifth Olympic Games and joins four other returners from the 2016 Olympic Games in Alex Bowen, Luca Cupido, Ben Hallock and Alex Obert. It's a squad with eight first-time Olympians bolstered by heavy professional experience over the last nine months.
A 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist, Smith ties the record of retired Team USA great Tony Azevedo for most Olympic Teams ever made by a USA Water Polo athlete. A world-class defender, Smith brings years of experience at the national team and international club level. Bowen has spent the last five years honing his skills abroad capping up for clubs in Hungary, Croatia and Greece bringing a next level offensive game.
Hallock and Obert have evolved into the main options for Team USA at two-meters and both are coming off strong international campaigns. Hallock, a NCAA champion, took home the ultimate club title this year as the first American man to win Champions League, taking top honors with Pro Recco. Obert also advanced to the Champions League Final 8 with Croatian power VK JUG. A physical force in front of the cage, Obert brings important size up front.
Eight newcomers join Team USA in Tokyo and while it may be their first Olympics, they have no shortage of experience. Max Irving and Hannes Daube were teammates for Olympiacos this season, reaching the Champions League Final 8 and will be two big pieces of the Team USA attack. There will be a brand-new look in goal for the United States in the Olympic Games as Alex Wolf and Drew Holland take on goalkeeper responsibilities. Both competed with clubs in Greece this season and have the ability to catch fire in the cage. Holland was most recently named the best goalkeeper at the 2021 FINA World League Super Final.
Johnny Hooper heads to his first Olympic Games adding a creative element on offense while Marko Vavic has the versatility to make an impact on both ends of the pool. Both spent time abroad with Hooper competing in Greece and Vavic in Italy. Dylan Woodhead, fresh off club play in Greece, adds to the defensive rotation and with one less roster spot on gamedays, lockdown defenders will be key to advancing. Nevada native Ben Stevenson rounds out the roster bringing another hard-working attacker with a host of international club experience in recent years, most recently with Glyfada where he was on the same team as Woodhead.
The USA Men's National Team is coming off a silver medal at the FINA World League Super Final, earning their third second place finish at the event in program history. All silver medals at the Super Final have come in Olympic years, with the prior results in 2008 and 2016. In 2008 the team would go on to win the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing, the program's most recent Olympic medal.
19 athletes in the USA Men's National Team program trained or competed with professional clubs in Europe, a record for Team USA. Learn more about which athletes played where by clicking here.
Under a new format for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, each nation will declare 12 active players before each match of the competition. The reduction in gameday roster size from 13 to 12 was part of an expansion in the overall number of teams competing in the women's tournament. The size of the women's tournament is now at 10 countries, up from eight, while the men's tournament stays at 12 teams.
U.S. Olympic Men's Water Polo Team Nominees – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
1. Alex Wolf (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Bruin)
2. Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier)
3. Marko Vavic (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA/USC/Trojan)
4. Alex Obert (Loomis, CA/Pacific/NYAC)
5. Hannes Daube (Long Beach, CA/USC/North Irvine WPC)
6. Luca Cupido (Santa Margherita, Italy/California/Olympic Club)
7. Ben Hallock (Westlake Village, CA/Stanford/LA Premier)
8. Dylan Woodhead (San Anselmo, CA/Stanford/Sleepy Hollow Aquatics & Stanford WPF)
9. Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
10. Ben Stevenson (Reno, NV/Pacific/NYAC)
11. Jesse Smith (Coronado, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC)
12. Max Irving (Long Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC)
13. Drew Holland (Orinda, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club)
Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic
Team Manager: Lori Verdegaal
Sports Medicine Manager: Chris Bates
"Being named to my second Olympic Games is incredible, it's been a long journey since 2016. (It's) a completely new group of guys and the work we've put in has been awesome, I can't wait to get to Tokyo. I think the team has come together really nicely and we're ready to fight for each other in Tokyo." - Ben Hallock, 2016 Olympian,Tokyo Olympic Games Nominee, and KAP7 Team Athlete.
The Olympic Games Schedule
USA vs. Japan: JUL 24 (SAT) 10:00 PM PT (1:00 AM ET (JUL 25) / JUL 25 2:00 PM (TOKYO))
USA vs. South Africa: JUL 26 (MON) 6:00 PM PT (9:00 PM ET / JUL 27 10:00 AM (TOKYO))
USA vs. Italy: JUL 28 (WED) 10:00 PM PT (1:00 AM ET (JUL 29) / JUL 29 2:00 PM (TOKYO))
USA vs Hungary: JUL 30 (FRI) 10:00 PM PT (1:00 AM ET (JUL 31) / JUL 31 2:00 PM (TOKYO))
USA vs. Greece: AUG 1 (SUN) 7:30 PM PT (10:30 PM ET / AUG 2 11:30 AM (TOKYO))
AUG 3 (TUE) TBD
AUG 5 (THU) TBD
AUG 7 (SAT) TBD
KAP7 and Turbo are the official competition gear and ball supplier of USA Water Polo.