Anni Espar is back in action with Spain, looking to lead her team to another FINA gold medal.
July 27, 2015
USC water polo has 13 Trojans representing seven different countries at the 2015 FINA World Championships, which are just getting underway in Kazan, Russia. Nine of those Trojans won NCAA Championships while at Troy, while four others are current members of USC rosters.
On the women's side, there are nine Women of Troy spread among seven countries. Teammates on USC's 2010 NCAA Championship team, Joelle Bekhazi (Canada) and two-time Peter J. Cutino Award winner and Olympic gold-medalist Kami Craig (USA) are the relative veterans of the group. Joining Craig on Team USA is 2013 NCAA champ Kaleigh Gilchrist, who is playing in her first-ever FINA World Championship.
Meanwhile, three other 2013 NCAA champions are looking to get their respective teams back to the FINA World Championship podium. At the 2013 event, Olympic silver medalist Anni Espar and her Spain team won gold, beating out Australia in the final. A silver medalist that year and fellow NCAA champ Hannah Buckling is back in the water again for the Aussies, as is 2013 NCAA Tournament MVP Flora Bolonyai, who is capped up in the cage once more for Hungary and looking to improve on the bronze medal she and the Hungarians won in 2013.
USC's youth movement is also repping the Trojans in Kazan. Before beginning their junior seasons with the Women of Troy, twins Ioanna and Stephania Haralabidis are competing with Greece. And after a standout freshman season at USC, goalie Victória Chamorro is in the cage for Brazil, standing as the youngest Trojan at these 2015 FINA World Championships.
On the men's side, recently crowned Peter J. Cutino Award winner Kostas Genidounias -- a three-time NCAA champ while at Troy -- has landed another spot on Greece's national team for his second appearance at the FINA World Championships. Meanwhile, another Cutino Award-winning Trojan stands tall in the cage for Australia. Four-time NCAA champion Joel Dennerley is backing up the Aussies in goal for this year's event. Another four-time NCAA champ, Nikola Vavic has secured a place on the roster for Team USA, joining rising sophomore McQuin Baron in the United States' 2015 FINA World Championship campaign. The USA men's squad also is aided by the guidance of former USC volunteer assistant coach Jack Kocur, who is serving as assistant coach for Team USA in Kazan.
Follow the efforts of USC's many Trojans in Russia at fina.org, with game results also available at waterpolo.sportresult.com/WCH2015/res.asp
TROJANS COMPETING AT 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS:
USA: McQuin Baron^, Nikola Vavic
Greece: Kostas Genidounias
Australia: Joel Dennerley
USA: Kami Craig, Kaleigh Gilchrist
Spain: Anni Espar
Canada: Joelle Bekhazi
Australia: Hannah Buckling
Greece: Ioanna Haralabidis^, Stephania Haralabidis^
Brazil: Victória Chamorro^
Hungary: Flora Bolonyai
^ indicates current USC student-athlete