From Pacific to Paris: Alex Obert '16 Thankful for Third Olympics with Team USA

Pacific Tiger Alex Obert '16

Pacific Tiger Alex Obert '16

Pacific water polo All-American Alex Obert '16 will represent Team USA at the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

“I was super excited when I found out,” Obert said. “I think this is a super special team with a lot of talent and returners coming back for another Olympics. Being a part of this group of men is really humbling and exciting. I know these guys like the back of my hand, and they are some of my best, closest friends.”

A third chance to go for gold and compete on the grandest of stages again was an opportunity that Obert could not pass up.

Although, he nearly did.

After the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, Obert believed his days of playing water polo had ended.

Obert got a full-time job, became a father in 2023 and hadn’t practiced water polo for two years.

“I thought my career was over,” Obert said. “I was very satisfied with how my career went. But about a year ago, some of my teammates asked me if I wanted to come back and they fully accepted me back. I got one last opportunity to push for another Olympic Games. I’m super excited for the role on this team. I know what I can do to help this team be successful.”

A three-time All-American and the third Tiger in Pacific history to be named a finalist for the Peter J. Cutino Award, Obert is thankful that Director of Water Polo James Graham prepared him and set him up for success at the highest level of competition.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it hadn’t chosen Pacific a long time ago,” Obert said. “James was able to put me in situations that made me the most successful. He helped me grow and make me the player that I am today. I think it’s really cool to see how more high-level players are coming to Pacific.”

Graham is thrilled to see Obert represent Pacific at his third Olympic Games, further supplementing how Pacific has continued to embrace and empower the spirit of Water Polo U.

“I’m very proud of Alex for everything he has accomplished here at Pacific and on the national stage,” Graham said. “He is a great example of what our program represents, and we couldn’t be more excited to see him compete in his third Olympic Games.”

Obert has kept in touch with Graham since graduating from Pacific and competing at the highest level.

“He’s definitely still someone I go to for advice when I need to talk about water polo or life in general,” Obert said. “James will always be someone very special in my life. He turned my life into the direction that it is today.”

The student-athletes, coaches and staff at Pacific are all excited to see Obert compete in Paris.

“It’s awesome,” said Devon Thumwood, Assistant Director of Athletics for Business Operations and Obert’s teammate from 2014-15. “When I came to Pacific in 2014, I didn’t know anyone on the team or the campus, but he was a leader and took me under his wing in showing me what Pacific water polo is. To see him represent the United States in the Olympics is a true testament of what kind of athlete he was as well as a person. To do that for three Olympics in a row is absolutely incredible. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

As Obert continues along his water polo journey, he is most thankful for his wife, Michele Obert, who is a Pacific women’s water polo alumni from 2012-15.

“We met back when I was a freshman,” Obert said. “She supported me the first day when I was a bench-warming freshman until the day I left Pacific where I was nominated for the Cutino Award. She has taken on a lot this past year. She’s a super woman and she gets it because she played water polo at the highest level. I would say my wife is my number one supporter.”

Reflecting on his journey from Pacific to Paris, Obert is proud of the path he has taken to get to where he is today with his sights set on going for gold.

Men’s water polo competition for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games begins July 27 and runs through August 11. A full schedule of the games can be found here.