U.S. Olympic women’s water polo team named, eyes extending historic run

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Maggie Steffens and Ashleigh Johnson again lead the U.S. Olympic women’s water polo team, which goes for a third consecutive gold in Tokyo.

The 13-player roster announced Wednesday includes eight returning Olympians:

Rachel Fattal (2016)
Aria Fischer (2016)
Makenzie Fischer (2016)
Kaleigh Gilchrist (2016)
Stephania Haralabidis
Paige Hauschild
Ashleigh Johnson (2016)
Amanda Longan
Maddie Musselman (2016)
Jamie Neushul
Melissa Seidemann (2012, 2016)
Maggie Steffens (2012, 2016)
Alys Williams

The Americans are 169-5 dating to December 2015, not dropping a game at an Olympics, World Championship, World Cup or a World League Super Final in that span.

The U.S. won a believed-to-be record 69 consecutive games from April 2018 to January 2020. Since that one defeat, it won all 16 of its games.

The U.S. hopes to become the third nation to win three consecutive Olympic water polo titles, joining the Hungarian men (2000-08) and British men (1900-20). Women’s water polo debuted at the Olympics in 2000.

ON HER TURF: More on the U.S. Olympic women’s water polo team

Adam Krikorian has been head coach since 2009 with a bevy of talent at his disposal. The most prominent player is Maggie Steffens, a member of every title team in the 2010s at the Olympics, worlds, World Cup and World League.

Johnson made her Olympic debut in Rio as the starting goalie and the first Black woman to play on a U.S. Olympic water polo team. After Rio, she took a break from the national team to write her 80-page senior thesis at Princeton, graduating in 2017 and returning to the program. She was MVP of the 2019 World Championship final, an 11-6 win over Spain.

Of the 13 players, 11 are from California. Johnson is from Miami. Haralabidis is set to become the first woman known to be born in Greece to compete for the U.S. at an Olympics in any sport, according to Olympedia.org.

The U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team will be named at a later date.

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