With the announcement of Chaz Poot and Jacob Mercep in the 13-strong Australian men’s water polo team, Sydney University Water Polo Club will have five members and one former member competing at the Paris Olympic Games.

They join Keesja Gofers, Matilda ‘Tilly’ Kearns and Sienna Green, and former SUWPC player Sienna Hearn, who have been selected in the 13-strong Australian women’s team to compete in Paris.

Chaz, a 25-year-old driver or centre-back, joined SUWPC as a junior and has become a stalwart and role model for aspiring young players. He was in the Lions team that claimed the 2018 Australian Water Polo League title and the Sydney based KAP7 Cup in 2021. Chaz made his Aussie Sharks debut at the 2022 FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in Peru, and his World Championships debut in Budapest later that year. He now has 43 Sharks caps.

Jacob, a 26-year-old water polo driver, has six caps from this year’s FINA World Championships played in Doha in February, and as with Chaz, will be making his Games debut. Croatian born, he won gold with Croatia at the 2016 FINA Youth World Championships and also earned silver at the 2017 FINA Junior World Championships.

He has an economics degree from the University of Southern California where he finished USC water polo career in 2021 as the fourth-ranked all-time goalscorer with 199. He has been a member of SUWPC since then.

The 12-team 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. Australia have been draw in Group B against Tokyo Olympic champions Serbia, bronze medallists Hungary, Japan, Spain and hosts France.

Meanwhile, Keesja will be appearing at her third Olympics having represented at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2022. Tilly will be making her second Games appearance having represented at the Tokyo Games, while Sienna will be making her Olympic debut in Paris. Aged 19, she will make history as the youngest Australian woman to compete in Olympic Water Polo.

The women’s water polo competition will be a 10-team tournament to be held at the Paris Aquatic Centre and the Paris La Defense Arena from July 27 to August 10.