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Canada's men's water polo powerhouse has alternative goal

06/23/2015 06:27 EDT | Updated 06/23/2016 05:59 EDT
Canada's men's water polo team for the Pan Am Games, second-place finishers four years ago in Mexico, is aiming to win gold and qualify directly for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Since 1999, Canada has won medals at every single water polo event at the Pan Am Games. At Guadalajara 2011, the Canadian men reached the second step of the podium, taking home a silver medal while the United States earned the gold. Current head coach Alex Beslin held the assistant coach position with the team at the time.

For other Pan Am Games events with direct or indirect qualification to the 2016 Rio Olympics, click here

"We have spent significant time training in Toronto since January, including a just completed camp with Montenegro, one of the best teams in the world, for much of June. We wanted to create this opportunity to get the most of the home field advantage that we are hoping for at the Games," Beslin said. "Our team has prepared intensely and we are leaving nothing to chance while we get ready to compete for our ticket to the Olympics."

The Canadian men will play their first game of the tournament on Tuesday, July 7 at 6:00 p.m. against Brazil and will subsequently face Venezuela and Mexico on July 9 and 11 respectively. The first encounter against their biggest rival, the American team, is not expected until later in the competition.

"It is always exciting to compete in front of our home crowd and all the members of our team are honoured to have the chance to display the results of our preparation in such a big way," stated Regina's Kevin Graham, a 2008 Olympic team member. "We are looking forward to hearing the cheers of the Canadians in the stands in Markham and will continue to work hard to prove worthy of their support."

Here are the team members, with home towns and positions.

- Dusan Aleksic, Gatineau, Que., goaltender

- Justin Boyd, Beaconsfield, que., driver, right side

- Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, Repentigny, Que., centre, forward

- John Conway, Ottawa, Ont., driver, right side

- Kevin Graham, Regina, Sask., driver, left side

- Constantine Kudaba, Port Coquitlam, BC, centre check

- Jared McElroy, Calgary, Alta., driver, right side

- Dusan Radojcic, Toronto, Ont. driver, left side

- Robin Randall, Drinkwater, Sask., goaltender

- Scott Robinson, Calgary, Alta., driver. left side

- Alec Taschereau, Ottawa, Ont., driver, left side

- George Torakis, Montreal, Que., centre check

- Oliver Vikalo, Calgary, Alta., centre forward

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