2 min

Meet Toronto’s veteran Triggerfish water polo player

Charles Pavia is heading to World Outgames in Antwerp, Belgium

Charles Pavia is heading to the World Outgames in Antwerp, Belgium. Credit: Steven Bereznai

Thousands of LGBT athletes from around the world will converge on Antwerp, Belgium, over the coming days for the 2013 World Outgames, with its opening ceremonies Aug 3. Among them is a strong Canadian contingent.

Xtra caught up with some Canadian athletes worth watching at this year’s games. In the first of four profiles, we chat with Charles Pavia of the Toronto Triggerfish.

The Underdogs:

“We still carry the spirit that made us the fun team 10 years ago,” says 39-year-old Charles Pavia, veteran goalie for the Toronto Triggerfish LGBT water polo team.

Still known for throwing impromptu underwear parties at clubs around the world during international gay tournaments, the “Triggs” have been admired since their inception for their festive functions (and hot guys) out of the water — but in the pool they were once “happy to just score a single goal” and to some have been known as a bit of a joke.

Just more than a decade since the group’s founding, it’s like they got a gay do-over. Pavia’s the longest-serving Trigg playing in this year’s World Outgames in Antwerp, and he’s seen the team grow in size and strength over the years. Three Triggerfish teams are heading to this year’s games, likely to be the largest water polo contingent from any city. One to watch is the Red Team, which is stacked with Triggerfish’s strongest, fastest and most experienced players.

Pavia joined the Triggs after meeting some of the team’s “cute boys at a circus school birthday party,” and while he’s a Toronto party promoter by night, once he gets into those Speedos, it’s game on. He’s gone from panting and clinging to the edge of the pool after “two minutes” of treading water at his very first practice to being the sole goalie for Team Red, which means he’ll be playing every minute of every game for the entire tournament in Antwerp.

At the World Outgames in Copenhagen four years ago, Pavia’s team won bronze after a gruelling game that went into double overtime. So does Pavia and his team have what it takes to go from bronze to gold four years later? “We know how to be the underdog,” he says. “Now we’re learning to take charge of a game.”

Check out Xtra's profile of Toronto track star Andre Mitchell

And ballroom belles Lisa Pomeranz and Isabelle Léger and badminton pro Marie Houzeau, who hopes to strike it big in Antwerp