WITH two parents in the game, water polo has always been in Zoe Arancini’s blood.
The Kent Street Senior High School graduate and current Curtin University student was named on the Australian Stingers squad ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The 13-strong team will look to bring another medal home, after the team won gold at Sydney 2000, and more recently bronze medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Arancini (24) will maker her Olympic debut in Rio, though she is no stranger to international competition.
She was a standout for Australia last year at the FINA World Championships in Russia when she was named as a tournament all star.
The same year she was also crowned the Australian Junior Women’s Player of the Year.
Australia will face Russia, Italy and Brazil in the preliminary group in Rio and coach Greg McFadden said defending Olympic champion USA was the team to beat.
“Our last tour proved the USA are still the ones to beat, they won three of the five games we played against them. They showed us if you are not on your game they can really dominate you,” he said.
“But you can’t discount any side, which is why you need to be playing at your best in every game or otherwise you may not come away with a win.”
The Australian side are vying for gold, and McFadden believed the team was now a different playing group to previous Olympics.
“This team has more firepower, which sets them apart from the last two Olympic teams I have coached,” he said.
“Previously we’ve relied on our senior players to be the leading goal scorers but over the last 12-18 months our younger players have been among the top scorers.
“For our new Olympians, they bring a wealth of experience, each playing more than 100 international games.
“They have all competed at the World Championships and World Cup levels so they have the big game experience.”
Fellow WA athletes Gemma Beadsworth and Glencora McGhie will also compete with the squad.