Makenzie Fischer

U.S. women's water polo
USA Water Polo

U.S. women’s water polo extends dominance with World League title, Olympic berth

Leave a comment

Consider the U.S. women’s water polo team is 127-4 going back to 2015. Then it’s no surprise it became the first nation to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Americans won a sixth straight FINA World League Super Final title, beating Italy 10-9 on Sunday to grab the first available Olympic berth.

The U.S. hasn’t dropped a game at an Olympics, World Championship, World Cup or a World League Super Final since the 2015 World Championship, which they went on to win anyway.

Next summer, the U.S. women will try to join the Hungarian men and the British men as the only teams to win three straight Olympic water polo titles.

Two of the three youngest players on the Rio Olympic team starred in particular in at the World League Super Final in Budapest.

Maddie Musselman, 20, was the Super Final MVP. Makenzie Fischer, also 20, was player of the match against Italy.

The roster included nine of the 13 Rio Olympians, headlined by Maggie Steffens, MVP of the last two Olympics, and guided by Adam Krikorian, who has been at the helm for a decade.

The U.S. heads to the world championship next month in Gwangju, South Korea, with a chance to become the first male or female team to win three straight titles.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Australia’s ‘Missile’ retires from swimming

Water polo: Back-to-back with authority! USA drills Italy for gold

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Team USA zipped out to an early lead on the way to becoming the first nation to win back-to-back Olympic golds in women’s water polo.

Star goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson made eight saves and the Americans again shared the goals in a 12-5 blowout of Italy in Rio on Friday.

Kiley Neushul led the Americans with three goals.

WATCH: Full match replay

Makenzie Fischer scored nine seconds into the match, and the United States never looked back in building a 4-1 lead after one quarter.

Federica Radicchi scored twice for Italy in a first half that finished 5-3 for the United States.

Rachel Fattal and Neushul scored to open the second half, and the Yanks rebuilt a four-goal lead.

The Americans have medaled in every Olympics, picking up two golds, two silvers, and a bronze.

Russia beat Hungary for bronze earlier Friday.

Aria Fischer to become youngest U.S. woman in summer Olympic team sport

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

MORE: U.S. Olympic women’s water polo squad set, eyes another gold medal