Fresh off his first outing with the Australian men’s water polo team, Macquarie University student Nic Brooks will take part in his second Summer Universiade with the Uniroos.
The speedy left-hander from Cronulla will wear green and gold again, this time in Taipei, with a team led by coach Tim Hamill confident of progressing deep into the tournament.
Last month Brooks, who plays in Cronulla, helped the Aussie Sharks to a seventh-placed finish in Budapest at the world championships.
“Playing at the world championships and world league has been a great opportunity to train and play at the senior level,” Brooks said from Hungary.
“We have achieved a top-eight finish at the world championships, which is great for a team that had a lot of new players.
“The last World University Games was great – such a great atmosphere – and the athletes village was brilliant.
“On paper we have a lot of strong players in our team, with a few coming back from US college system, which has started training for their next season.
“So we expect to be a strong team and look forward to be playing for a medal.”
Brooks is nearing the end of his Actuarial Studies and Science (Mathematics) degree, which he is able to schedule around early morning training at NSWIS in Homebush.
“For me, it fits in well with the training and Macquarie University have been great in helping to juggle my studies with my training and playing commitments,” he said.
“I finish my studies next year, and I am looking for an internship over summer.
“At the moment, I am focused on finishing my degree, and I am not really looking at opportunities to play professionally.
“However if an opportunity did come up to play in a strong European team I would have to give it serious consideration.”
Uniroos coach Hamill has coached Brooks from a young age coming through the water polo ranks as a junior over the last five years.
He is expecting a good result for the team that includes four US collegiate players Tom Freeman (goalkeeper, University of Southern California), Tim Reeves (University of the Pacific, Stockton), Gianni Tarranto (University of California Berkeley) and Reed Cotterill (University of California, Santa Barbara).
“From a water polo point of view World University Games has really increased in stature as a tournament during the last couple,” Hamill said.
“So it’s now seen as a highly regarded tournament.
“Those boys have played college water polo in America for the last two or three years, so this is an opportunity to check in on those guys and their development.
“Reed has had a big couple of years in the US and is on the verge of national squad selection.”
At the last Summer Universiade the Uniroos placed seventh in Gwangju, South Korea.
“There are four pools of four, so we have game one against Argentina then play Italy and Netherlands,” Hamill explained.
“Generally the Serbians have won everything in men’s water polo the last four or five years, Hungary are always hard to beat and the Italians are also strong.
“We’d be very hopefully of progressing through to the next stage, which would mean a crossover with USA, Russia or Japan.”
Australian Uniroos men’s water polo team:
|Tom Freeman||University of Southern California|
|Will Mackay||University of Notre Dame|
|Pat Flannagan||Queensland University of Technology|
|Justin Trabinger||Deakin University|
|Angus Lambie||University of NSW|
|Leo Hurley||Monash University|
|Harry Sanderson||University of Technology Sydney|
|Gianni Tarranto||University of California, Berkley|
|Reed Cotterill||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|Tim Reeves||University of the Pacific, Stockton|
|Nick Hughes||The University of Western Australia|
|Nic Brooks||Macquarie University|
|Joseph Parnis||University of Adelaide|
In 2015, the women’s water polo team scored a dramatic penalty shootout win over Canada in Gwangju to claim their first gold medal at a Summer Universiade.
In 2017, the team welcomes back Julia Barton (University of Newcastle) and Pascalle Casey (Macquarie University) who are hungry for more success as well as notable inclusions including Mollie Williams, a freshman at Indiana University, who recently became the Hoosiers 10th all-time player and second freshman in program history to collect All-American honours.
Tori Morrissey from Maroubra, New South Wales is coming off an impressive sophomore year at California State University in Long Beach playing in all 30 games.
Uniroos teammates Savannah Henshaw and Sofia Chaves will both represent Australia at the youth world championships later this year.
Australian Uniroos women’s water polo team:
|Tyler Baillie||Queensland University of Technology|
|Julia Barton||University of Newcastle|
|Pascalle Casey||Macquarie University|
|Sofia Chaves||The University of Western Australia|
|Ashley Colaco||The University of Sydney|
|Savannah Henshaw||The University of Sydney|
|Georgia Hickey||Queensland University of Technology|
|Zoe Hille||RMIT University|
|Genevieve Longman||University of Technology Sydney|
|Brooke McClean||Australian Catholic University|
|Tori Morrissey||California State University, Long Beach|
|Mollie Williams||Indiana University|
The Summer Universiade is the world’s second largest international athletic event, double the size of the Winter Olympics and bigger than the Commonwealth Games.
Featuring more than 20,000 athletes from 170 countries, the University Games are a crucial stepping stone for emerging young stars striving for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games or the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 2017 World University Games will begin on August 19 and run until August 30. Eurosport will broadcast highlights of the Games in Australia, but to best keep up with the action follow the Australian Uniroos on Facebook and Twitter (@AUSuniroos).