When the U.S. women’s water polo team begins competition in Rio, they’ll attempt to become the first women’s team to collect consecutive Olympic gold medals. Yet, the squad’s youngest player will achieve a historic distinction just by hopping in the pool.
Seventeen-year-old Aria Fischer will be the youngest U.S. woman to compete in a summer team sport at the Olympics. She’ll be the first 17-year-old to do so.
Here is the list as it stands before Rio:
Nancy Lieberman – 18 years and 19 days old – basketball (1976 Games)
Cindy Parlow – 18 years, 75 days – soccer (1996)
Christa Williams – 18 years, 164 days – softball (1996)
Laurie Lewis – 18 years, 298 days – volleyball (1968)
Maggie Steffens – 19 years, 87 days – water polo (2012)
Katelyn Falgowski – 19 years, 290 days – field hockey (2008)
Angie Raynor – 21 years, 124 days – handball (2008)
However, Fischer will not be the youngest U.S. female team sport athlete in all Olympics. Lyndsay Wall was 16 years old when she competed in the 2002 Winter Olympic hockey tournament.
She also will not be the youngest U.S. Olympic water polo player ever, as Bob Saari competed as a 16-year-old at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
But, if the U.S. gets on the podium, Fischer would become the youngest U.S. Olympic water polo medalist, the youngest female Olympic water polo medalist from any nation, and the fourth-youngest water polo medalist all-time.
If the U.S. women defend their title, as they are favored to do, Fischer would be the youngest U.S. woman to win gold in a team sport at the Olympics. She’d be the second-youngest woman from any country, as Cuba’s Regla Torres was a slightly younger 17-year-old when she won volleyball gold in 1992.
Taking men into account, a gold medal would make Fischer the second-youngest of all water polo players to win gold, and the youngest in 64 years. Hungary’s Gyorgy Karpati was a few months younger at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
Those would be some impressive achievements for an already-impressive water polo family. Aria’s older sister, Makenzie, is also on the Rio Olympic team at age 19. And their father, Erich, was a member of the U.S. men’s water polo team that placed fourth at the 1992 Olympics.
NBC Olympics research contributed to this report.