HEAD coach of TT boys' and girls' water polo teams, Jeff Passwater says he is completely satisfied with his charges' preparation for the Pan American Youth Water Polo Championships, which starts tomorrow at the National Aquatic Centre, Couva.
"The players all had a good summer's preparation and I could not be more proud of them," Passwater told Newsday ahead of a scrimmage yesterday.
The final group of foreign athletes were expected to touch down at the Piarco International Airport last evening.
TT's Under-17 boys will face seven other teams in a round robin phase, which will be followed by placement matches.
The girls' tournament features the same format but with six teams competing.
Among those competing are traditional regional powerhouses in Brazil, Canada and the United States.
Passwater believes the two TT teams can spring a surprise against one or more of their strongest opponents and finish among the top four. Doing so would see them qualify for next year's IV FINA Youth Water Polo World Championships.
"In events like Pan Am, you find that most teams other than the top three aim to finish (at least) fourth," Passwater told Newsday yesterday, saying that the three teams are usually a cut above the rest.
Passwater, who coached a number of teams in the US before his arrival in TT in June, said he has full confidence in the talent both national teams possess.
"If we do not (finish among the top four), it is not because of a lack of talent. The truth is teams like the US and Brazil play more regularly and would have that advantage."
As such, he said, they would have to play at their maximum potential.
"There is an experience factor. But an upset is not impossible if we catch them off-guard."
Passwater gave his prediction, saying he strongly believes one or both teams will make it to semifinals.
"That's just how I feel," he said.
Apart from Brazil, USA and Canada, both TT teams will also face Argentina and Peru. The Bahamas and Colombia are also included in the male tournament.
Canada and Argentina will open the female tournament from 9 am.
Peru will take on USA in the following match from 10.20 am, before TT open their account against Brazil from 11.40 am.
The boys' team will start their challenge against Canada from 2 pm, with three other matches to follow.
The competition continues with a similar schedule – three female division matches and four male division matches – each day until Wednesday when the quarter-finals start in the female division.
The boys preliminaries will end on Thursday, followed by the placement matches a day later, which will bring the tournament to a close.
TT Squads –
FEMALE: Christina Nimblett, Morgan Donawa, Jordan Waithe, Jade Charles, Danielle Lequay, Catherine Alexander, Victoria Gillette, Breanne Jordan, Tahira Beepat, Abeo Valentine, Tiffany Green, Aaliyah Aching.
MALE: Zephaniah Taylor Saldenha, Yannick Robertson, Ross Gillette, Jonathan Constantine, Nikolai York, Kelvin Caesar, Everson Latchman, Marvin Gillard-Bruce, Nathan Hinds, David Agard, Christian Chin Lee, Ricardo Ramdan, Dylan Lee.
Female: Canada vs Argentina, 9 am; Peru vs USA, 10.20 am; TT vs Brazil, 11.40 am.
Male: Canada vs TT, 2 pm; Brazil vs USA, 3.20 pm; Peru vs Argentina, 4.40 pm; Bahamas vs Colombia, 6 pm.
Female: Argentina vs Brazil, 9 am; Canada vs Peru, 10.20 am; USA vs TT, 11.40 am.
Male: TT vs Argentina, 2 pm; Brazil vs Peru, 3.30 pm; USA vs Colombia, 4.40 pm; Canada vs Bahamas, 6 pm.
Female: Brazil vs USA, 9 am; Peru vs Argentina, 10.20 am; TT vs Canada, 11.40 am.
Male: Peru vs TT, 2 pm; Argentina vs USA, 3.20 pm; Colombia vs Canada, 4.40 pm; Bahamas vs Brazil, 6 pm.
Female: Argentina vs USA, 9 am; Canada vs Brazil, 10.20 am; Peru vs TT, 11.40 am.
Male: Colombia vs TT, 2 pm; USA vs Peru, 3.20 pm; Canada vs Brazil, 4.40 pm; Argentina vs Bahamas, 6 pm.
Female: TT vs Argentina, 9 am; Brazil vs Peru, 10.20 am; Canada vs USA, 11.40 am.
Male: TT vs Brazil, 2 pm; Peru vs Canada, 3.20 pm; Bahamas vs USA, 4.40 pm; Colombia vs Argentina, 6 pm.