Sport: Men's Water Polo
Birthday: June 27, 1985 (age 31)
Hometown: Beverly Hills, California
Cal affiliation: California Golden Bears alum (International Relations '08)
Years at Cal: 2003-2007
Olympic appearances: 2012 London game (Mann scored 3 goals for U.S.A. that was knocked out in the quarter-finals by the eventual champs Croatia)
In his senior year, John Mann led the Golden Bears to the 2006 NCAA Championship with a team-high 80 goals. Mann was the 2006 Pete Cutino Award Winner as the national collegiate men's water polo Player of the Year. He was a First-Team All-American and All-MPSF pick in 2004, 2005, and 2006. He was also the MVP of the 2006 MPSF Tournament.
By the way, the 2006 NCAA championship game between Cal and USC had this exciting finish.
Mann plays the center position (the same position that he also plays on the U.S. National Team), which is the guy who is positioned directly in front of the goal at the 2 meter line AKA the line of scrimmage. This is typically the strongest guy on the team and the focal point of the offense.
After scoring 22 goals as a true freshman, John Mann led the Bears in goals for the next three years (60, 56, and then 80). His 218 career goals is 2nd most in Cal program history; that is pretty impressive given the rich Cal men's water polo history.
John Mann has a long history of representing the United States in the International scenes. He led the U.S. to the 2007 Pan American Games tournament win by scoring 5 goals. Mann also played for the U.S. team in the FINA World League in 2007, 2008 (Silver medal), 2009, and 2011.
A young John Mann, prior to Cal, led U.S. to a Gold with a team high 20 goals at the 2003 Junior Pan American Games. He was the leader scorer and the MVP of the 2004 Junior Pan Am Games. Mann was also the Tournament MVP at the 2005 Under-20 National Championships among a long list of awards and honors.
More on John and his Rio outlook
Since graduating from Berkeley, John Mann has been playing water polo abroad in Europe (maybe that International Relations major did help him abroad). In 2009-2010, Mann helped C.N. Barceloneta to win the Spanish Cup and the Spanish league championships. In 2013, Mann signed with VK Redstar Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) of Serbia, a European powerhouse.
Along with current Golden Bear rising junior Luca Cupido on Team USA, John Mann hopes to be the next Cal Men's Water Polo affiliate to win a men's water polo medal since 2012 London Calympian (and then Cal student) Aleksa Saponjic won the Bronze with Serbia (Saponjic apparently is now working in management consulting thanks to his Haas degree, according to his LinkedIn). Before Saponjic, Calympian Kevin Robertson and assistant coach Steve Heaston (for whom the Big Splash trophy is named) were the last Americans to win a medal, back in the 1988 Seoul games.
USA is one of 12 countries to compete for the Men's Water Polo gold medal. In Group B with Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Montenegro, the American will vie for the top 4 spot out of 6 to advance to the knockout round after each team plays every other team in its own group. While Serbia, in Group A, is considered the heavy favorite to win the Gold, the rest of the field is viewed as fairly even. Team USA is expected to advance to the knockout stage (especially since 2/3 of the countries make it), and should be good enough to be in the mix for a medal.
Good luck to John in Rio and GO BEARS!