Published Tue 28 May 2024

The Aussie Sharks water polo team came face to face with their namesakes, as the 13-strong team was announced at SEA LIFE Sydney’s shark habitat.

Co-captains Nathan Power and Blake Edwards return for their second Games. Lachy Edwards, brother of Blake, continues the family tradition with his second Games, with the remaining 10 team members making their Olympic debut.

Queenslanders Nic Porter and Marcus Berehulak, West Australians John Hedges and Luke Pavillard, and New South Welshmen Angus Lambie, Charlie Negus, Chaz Poot, Jacob Mercep, Matthew Byrnes and Milos Maksimovic complete the Sharks squad for Paris.

Power, Blake and Lachlan Edwards, Lambie, Poot, Negus, Byrnes and Maksimovic celebrated their announcement with their namesakes at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium’s shark habitat, with the other team members currently training and competing around Australia and internationally. The squad will come together in Canberra in the coming weeks for their Paris 2024 team preparations.

Today’s announcement brings the announced Australian Olympic Team size to 100 of an expected 460-strong Team.

AOC CEO Matt Carroll congratulated the athletes on their selection.

“The AOC is thrilled to announce these 13 athletes to represent Australia in Paris,” Mr Carroll said. “With less than two months until the Opening Ceremony, you can feel the excitement around the Games building.

“Congratulations to each of you, and your families, coaches, support staff and friends, everyone who helped you on your journey to reach this Olympic milestone.

“Thank you to Water Polo Australia for helping nurture these athletes from juniors having a go at water polo for the first time, to world class athletes enroute to the Olympic Games.”

Co-captain Nathan Power is looking forward to two hard months of preparation before taking to the pool in Paris.

“The Aussie Sharks are a very hungry team, and right now the focus is on the hard work that we still need to do between now and Paris,” he said.

“It’s a team where the guys come from a lot of different backgrounds and different journeys. We’ve got 10 Olympic debutants, but 10 very different stories of how their Olympic dreams have come true.

“The crucial step for us in the build up to Paris will be our European tour, it’s the biggest factor for us and our preparations. Getting to go across to Europe early, we’re travelling through some very strong water polo nations, and looking forward to getting some more game time and repetitions against other elite level nations.”

Co-captain Blake Edwards heads to his second Games but the first as a dad – with son Jude born on Mother’s Day earlier this month.

“It’s always good to reflect on the journey, and it’s obviously a little different to making your first team,” he said.

“I’ve taken the time to look back recognised all the hard work that has put me in a position to go to my second Olympic Games, and now I’m fully focused on making sure I’m ready and the team’s ready for Paris.

“It was a big driving factor to go again this cycle - we weren’t able to share the experience with our family and friends in Tokyo. I’m sure there will be many tears shed by mum throughout the two weeks. I’m extremely proud to be standing there with Lachy again - he’s overcome do much this cycle and he’s going to be a huge asset to our team.

“The thing that’s exciting for us is that we know that our best can really change anyone in the world and so knowing that our best is good enough to challenge any team…the outcome or possibilities are endless.”

Head Coach Tim Hamill congratulated his players on their selection.

“It’s an extremely exciting time for the players selected to represent the Australian men’s water polo team in Paris. Over the last three years, the entire squad has been working very hard and I certainly saw a sense of relief from many of the players post selection.

“It’s the biggest thing that you can do as a water polo player in the world, and as a country we know how celebrated our Olympians are. It’s a really exciting time and I can’t wait until the first whistle against Spain on 28 July.

“What you’ll see from the Aussie Sharks in Paris is that we’re an extremely enthusiastic and motivated group, and we don’t fear any opponent. I’m excited to see how we all perform on the world stage and in the big dance in two months’ time.”

The men’s water polo competition will take place at the Paris Aquatic Centre (Preliminary rounds), and the Paris La Defense Arena (one preliminary round and the finals) from 28 July to 11 August.

The men’s water polo competition is a 12-team tournament. Australia have been drawn in Group B against Tokyo Olympic champions Serbia, bronze medallists Hungary, Japan, Spain and hosts France.