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Olympics

Tony Azevedo makes record fifth Olympic water polo team

Tony Azevedo makes record fifth Olympic water polo team

Tony Azevedo is the captain of the U.S. water polo team. He will take part in his fifth Olympic Games.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The U.S. men’s water polo team has largely overhauled its roster since the last Summer Olympics, adding a host of new faces.

But one noted veteran has managed to hang around.

Captain Tony Azevedo will make his fifth trip to the Games, the most by any player in American water polo history. Azevedo highlights a 13-man squad that was announced in San Diego on Thursday.

“We’ve gotten better every month,” he told reporters on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum. “It’s exciting to see. I think we’re gonna be a team everyone is afraid of.”

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John Mann joins former Pepperdine stars Jesse Smith and Merrill Moses as the only other returners on a squad that will feature nine first-time Olympians.

The Americans are ranked sixth in the world and looking to rebound from a disappointing eighth-place finish at the 2012 London Games.

They will open Olympic play on Aug. 6 against defending gold-medalist Croatia.

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For Azevedo, this summer will mark a homecoming. He was born in Rio de Janeiro and moved to the U.S. as a child.

david.wharton@latimes.com

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