'I want them to live, learn and love waterpolo' - American legend teaching next generation of Kiwi players

It's not often you get to train alongside a five-time Olympian but Auckland's Sea Wolf Water Polo Club has managed to make that a reality for some aspiring athletes.

Tony Azevedo is a five-time Olympian for the US and sees plenty of potential in NZ. Source: 1 NEWS

America's Tony Azevedo is taking a week-long camp and giving almost 60 Kiwi kids a dream for success in the growing sport.

“I want these kids to succeed in life,” he said.

“I want them to talk water polo, live, learn and love it so we can grow our sport and if they want to succeed, that’s what I'm here to do.”

Azevedo has been a member of Team USA for five Olympic cycles, winning a silver medal in Beijing in 2008.

Azevedo says New Zealand has plenty of talent coming through the ranks that could lead to New Zealand's first water polo team at the Olympics.

But there is a difference in pathways for the sport here. Because the New Zealand national programme is self-funded, many players look abroad to further their career.

Kiwi Justin Pickering has done just that, currently the top goal scorer for the San Jose Spartans in the US.

“Every second weekend I’m playing against Olympians that play at Berkley and Stanford.

“You don’t have an option really – you’ve got to step up your game.”

Azevedo says whatever pathway Kiwis choose, it’ll all help the sport blossom here.

“The stronger we can be outside of Europe, the stronger our sport is going to be.”