Dodd brothers, Ryder and Chase, selected to U.S. Olympic water polo team

Brothers Chase (left) and Ryder Dodd were named to the USA Olympic water polo team headed to Paris.

In a sport where physicality and experience matter in international competition, the U.S. men’s water polo team revealed on Tuesday that a roster spot for the Olympic Games in Paris has been given to 18-year-old JSerra High graduate Ryder Dodd, making him the youngest in the modern era to play on the team.

“As a kid growing up playing water polo, this is a dream come true,” Dodd said.

He and brother Chase, both UCLA students, are on a 13-man team that is loaded with Southern California products and includes 10 players who played at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“Amazing,” Chase, 21, said of getting to play in Paris with Ryder. “I don’t think there’s words to describe how it feels having someone you grew up with every day to go out with you on the world’s biggest stage. It’s insane.”

Ryder led JSerra to the Southern Section Open Division championship and was considered the No. 1 water polo player in the country. He signed with UCLA and will begin classes in the fall. All-time great Tony Acevedo was 18 when he played in the 2000 Olympic Games and former Harvard-Westlake standout Ben Hallock, the captain for this year's team, was 18 when he was first named to the Olympic team.

“It’s about staying in the present,” Hallock said of the challenges an 18-year-old faces on the Olympic team. “He’s going to college in three months. There’s distractions.”

Hallock, 26, and Johnny Hooper, 26, were standouts at Harvard-Westlake during their high school days before moving on to Stanford and Cal, respectively.

Rich Corso, who was head coach for Team USA at the 1996 Games, has seen the 6-foot, 205-pound Ryder play in international competitions.

“He’s got fantastic end-to-end speed and is a physical player and is tenacious,” Corso said.

Water polo powers UCLA, USC, Stanford and Cal are well represented on the team.

Other former local high school players are goalie Adrian Weinberg (Cal), who graduated from Oaks Christian, Hannes Daube (USC) attended Orange Lutheran, Chase Dodd, who went to Huntington Beach, Max Irving (UCLA), who graduated from Long Beach Wilson, Luca Cupido (Cal), who went to Newport Harbor, and Marko Vavic (USC), who played for Loyola.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.