The stakes are higher than usual for the FINA World League men's Super Final, which is being held this week in Florence, Italy.
The winner of the event not only earns $100,000 prize money but an automatic berth into the 2012 London Olympics.
Two days into the competition, the United States National Team has mixed results.
Stanford grad and three-time Olympian Tony Azevedo scored four goals as the Americans beat China, 13-6, Wednesday morning after dropping a 10-4 match to host Italy a day earlier.
Stanford grad Peter Hudnut scored a goal in the loss to Italy.
Team USA continues pool play Thursday with a match against Serbia in Florence.
Azevedo scored the first goal of the contest against China and the U.S. never trailed, though it was close through the first half.
The Americans broke it open in the third period, with Hudnut scoring one of his two goals in the contest.
Stanford grad Peter Varellas also scored for the U.S. while former Cardinal All-American Layne Beaubien also contributed.
Italy scored eight of the first nine goals of the match before Hudnut broke the string with 1:03 left in the third period.
Women's water polo
Two Stanford grads, two current Cardinal students and a future Cardinal were named to the FINA World Championship roster that will open competition in Shanghai on July 17 against the Netherlands.
Grads Brenda Villa and Jessica Steffens will be joined by current players Melissa Seidemann and Annika Dries, and future Cardinal Maggie Steffens.
Stanford grad Lolo Silver, who played for the U.S. during the FINA World League Super Final, will not be playing in Shanghai.
The Americans also play Hungary and Kazakhstan in pool play before preliminaries begin July 23.