Generations of success for water polo family

For the Tri-Cities’ first family of water polo, success is in their eyes.

Maxwell Macmillan, his younger brother, Quinn and their cousin Connor Macmillan can see themselves playing together on Canada’s men’s national water polo team at an Olympic Games.

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They’re already well on their way to realizing that vision.

Max, 17, will be spending part of his summer in Montreal at a training camp for the national junior team and Quinn, 15, made the long list for Canada’s U17 national team. And while he ultimately didn’t get selected, he’s embarked upon a busy workout regime to change his fortunes next year.

Ironically, it was Quinn’s older cousin, Connor, who may have beaten him out, as he made the U17 team and is also on the long list for the national U20 side.

The three Macmillans have spent most of their lives in the pool, although this past year was the first time they all played water polo together, with the Pacific Storm Water Polo club team.

Connor said the chemistry was instantaneous as each Macmillan could tell where the other was headed for a pass or to make a play just by a quick glance or look in their eyes.

“We have that connection,” Max said.

They also have the genes.

Max and Quinn’s dad, Allan, played for Canada’s national water polo team in the 1990s. Connor’s dad, Darren, was the team’s captain and competed at the world championships as well as two Pan American games.

The boys said having fathers who competed in water polo at its highest levels has helped their own immersion in the sport, even though the way it’s played has evolved through the generations from a slower, more physical game to a style that emphasizes skill and speed.

“We’ve learned old tricks and combine them with the new style of playing,” Max said.

“The more perspective, the better,” Connor said.

The Macmillans admit their family’s history in water polo (their late grandfather, Bob, was also a president of BC Water Polo) does create some level of expectation for their own success. It also makes them a target for opponents. But rather than letting that sink them, Max said they’re buoyed by it.

“We say the Macmillan trio is back at it.”

Quinn said, “It’s good knowing your big brother and cousin have your back.”

The trio is also one another's biggest cheerleaders. When Quinn didn’t make the cut for the U17 team, Connor said he was gutted.

“I never feel a rivalry,” he said. “We push each other.”

And if that push sends all three to an Olympic Games or world championships, “that would be such a cool thing,” Max said, adding, “I definitely think it’s possible.”

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