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PRINCETON, N.J. — Roko Pozaric (Jr., Zagreb, Croatia/Gimnazija Titusa Brezovackog) is among three finalists for the the prestigious Peter J. Cutino Award, the USA Water Polo and the Olympic Club announced earlier today.

Established in 1999 by The Olympic Club, the Cutino Award is given annually to the top men’s and women’s NCAA Division I water polo players as voted on by coaches from across the country. The namesake of the award is a legend in United States water polo history, with eight NCAA titles as head coach at Cal. The Olympic Club has a long and distinguished competitive water polo history, a tradition that continues today in the pool with some of the best age-group teams in the world.

Pozaric joins other finalists Nikolaos Papanikolaou (University of California) and Rafael Real Vergara (University of California-Los Angeles). After becoming the first Princeton men’s water polo athlete to be named First-Team All-America, Pozaric is now also the first Tigers’ men’s athlete to be named a Cutino finalist.

Pozoric has a chance to make history as only one men’s and/or women’s athlete – current United States National Team goalkeeper and former Princeton standout Ashleigh Johnson  – from an institution outside California to win either the men’s or women’s Cutino Award.

A two-time Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) Player of the Year (2022, 2023) and the 2021 Rookie of the Year, three First Team All-Conference honors (2021, 2022, 2023), he  recorded the best season of his career in 2023. He scored 76 goals, fourth most in program history with a personal-best 47 assists along with 41 steals, 28 drawn ejections and a 111-9 sprint record. He scored a goal in all but one with 22 multi-goal performances.

“We are honored to have a member of our team named as a Cutino Award finalist for the first time in program history,” said Princeton head coach Dustin Litvak. “This is the most prestigious award in collegiate water polo and recognizes not only the incredible player that Roko is but also the historic season our team had this past fall. Roko is more than deserving of this nomination. Beyond his obvious talent, Roko is an extremely dedicated, hard-working and selfless teammate who has a tremendous passion for the sport, our team and Princeton University.”

The Cutino Awards will take place on the evening of Saturday, June 1 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. The ceremony will be live-streamed free of charge courtesy of USA Water Polo on The broadcast will feature interviews with finalists, athletes, coaches plus the Cutino Award ceremony in its entirety. Those interested in attending the awards can register by CLICKING HERE.

Information courtesy Princeton University Athletics Communications

About the Cutino Award: The “Heisman” of water polo, the award was first presented in 1999 by the Trustees of the Olympic Club of San Francisco, founded in 1860 to support amateur athletics in the Bay area and America’s oldest athletic club. Nominees for the Cutino Award are selected by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) water polo coaches. These coaches vote for three players as nominees, none of which can be members of their own team. The eventual winner is voted on again by the same coaches, who now rank the nominees and can vote for members of their own teams. The Olympic Club, which tabulates the votes, does not release the number of votes to avoid manipulation of the totals. Each winner receives a brass and walnut trophy, and the perpetual trophy is on display at the Olympic Club of San Francisco.

Collegiate Water Polo Association