Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The 13-player U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team announced includes three players from Los Angeles County, including attacker Tony Azevedo of Long Beach, the first five-time Olympian in U.S. water polo history.

The 34-year-old Azevedo has been a member of each U.S. Men’s Olympic Water Polo Team since 2000, including 2008, when the U.S. won a silver medal.

Azevedo was the leading scorer for the U.S. in the 2004 and 2008.

Azevedo was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the site of the 2016 Olympics, but his family moved to California when he was 1 month old.

Azevedo graduated from Wilson High School in Long Beach in 2001 and received a degree in international relations from Stanford.

The other Los Angeles County residents on the team are 38-year-old goalkeeper Merrill Moses of Palos Verdes, a three-time Olympian who was also a member of the silver medal-winning 2008 team and is an assistant coach at his college alma mater, Pepperdine, and 18-year-old center Ben Hallock from Studio City, who graduated from the Harvard-Westlake School last month.

The team also includes five players from Orange County — attacker Luca Cupido and center John Mann, both of Newport Beach, goalkeeper McQuin Baron of North Tustin, attacker Bret Bonanni of Huntington Beach, and attacker Josh Samuels of Villa Park.

The U.S. is sixth in rankings compiled by FINA, the international governing body for aquatics. It has finished second in the FINA World League Super Final last month.

“We’re the only team in the world that’s trained nonstop for eight months,” said Azevedo, the team captain Thursday. “We’ve gotten better every month.

“I think we’re going to be a team that everyone’s afraid of. In Rio, we’re going to be one of the best teams in the world.”

—City News Service

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