Brisbane born Rhys Howden began playing water polo at the age of 14 and by 21 he made his Olympic debut at Beijing 2008. His father however played for and captained the Great Britain water polo team from 1977-1981. Howden played driver for the team in Beijing, which placed eighth.
He competed at his second Olympic Games in London 2012. After losing three of their first four matches, the Australians knocked off Greece 13-8 to book a spot in the quarter-finals against Serbia. The Aussies took a 7-4 halftime lead before going down 8-11 to the eventual bronze medallists. Howden finished with ten goals in the competition.