Water Polo is the ultimate test of speed and endurance.
Dani Mortimer: "You swim non-stop."
Brian Suhovy: "Even their rest time, when there's nothing going on, they're still trading water."
Dani Mortimer: "It's like Soccer."
Glenn Lyon: "And Basketball, but played in the water."
Brian Suhovy: "It's a physical sport, it's a pretty fast paced game."
It's a game Brian Suhovy is trying to grow at Fresno Pacific. He's the head coach of both the men's and women's programs. Programs he started from scratch five years ago.
Brian Suhovy: "Getting the name out there, getting kids to realize we're here, we're a NCAA program and we're building and we're competitive is really the toughest part."
Water Polo is not as popular here in the states as it is abroad. It was created in the late 19th century in England and by 1900 it became an Olympic sport. Each team has six field players and one goalkeeper. The game is divided into four periods. The length of each quarter depends on the level of play. Seven minutes in college and eight minutes for international competition. The visiting team wears numbered and usually with white caps. The objective is simple score more goals than your opponent.
The U.S. women will be favored to win gold at the Summer Games in London while the men will be underdogs. They are currently ranked fourth in the world. Fresno Pacific assistant coach Rick Merlo believes this team has what it takes to medal.
Rick Merlo: "Cut towards the cage, don't keep going away."
He should know, he was on the 2008 U.S. men's Water Polo team that won silver at the Beijing Olympics.
Rick Merlo: "This is basically about 14 years of my life dedicated to Water Polo, and this was a dream of mine that came true. It was a feeling of total, complete accomplishment. Just very happy, and excited that the work, everything I put into the sport came true and that I finally received this. This trophy."
And victory for the red, white and blue in the Olympics could also mean a victory for the Sunbirds back here at home.
Dani Mortimer: "We hope that with the Olympics it gets more people to come out and try it."
Glenn Lyon: "People see it on TV and [say] 'I want to go check one out live.' Maybe they'll want to come check us out."
Brian Suhovy: "I'm excited for our national team, I'm excited for the program here and the things to come. It's going to be an exciting year for us, especially with the NCAA transition, and being an Olympic year. Everybody's fired up right now."
The Water Polo tournament gets underway on July 29th. It will run until August 12th when the medals are handed out. Both the men and women from team USA are strong contenders for the gold. Along with prime-time coverage, you can catch all the Olympic action on NBC's Olympic website by clicking here.