The United States. Olympic Women's Water Polo Team announced the 13 athletes that will be nominated to represent Team USA at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The roster for the two-time defending Olympic champions and three-time defending World Champions features eight returners from the Rio Olympic Games and two-returners from the London Olympic Games. Two-time Olympic championsMaggie Steffens (captain) andMelissa Seidemann anchor a squad that will welcome five first-time Olympians.
Considered the best water polo player on the planet, Steffens is back for a third attempt at gold, bringing an ability to play any position. Seidemann went through her first two Olympic runs as the most formidable defender around, over the last five years she's added a heavy dose of center play, dominating on both ends of the pool.
Rio gold medalistAshleigh Johnson is back in the goal for the United States continuing to cement her reputation as the best in class between the pipes. High scoring attackersRachel Fattal andMaddie Musselman bolster the offensive attack bringing expertise on the power play. Meanwhile, sistersMakenzie Fischer andAria Fischer have quickly gone from phenoms to veterans. Makenzie adds a dual threat on offense and defense while Aria is the toughest of covers at two-meters. Rounding out the returners isKaleigh Gilchrist. Dubbed the "Mamba Mission," Gilchrist's recovery is complete following a serious leg injury suffered during a fall after the 2019 FINA World Championships in South Korea.
DefenderAlys Williams leads the charge on the list of Olympic newcomers. The first woman in program history to be the last cut for a previous Olympic roster and then make the next Games team, Williams brings a perseverance that will be key to a third straight gold. AttackerStephania Haralabidis is the first left-hander to make the roster since 2008 and adds instant-offense to the team with a lightning quick release. Versatility is a theme on this roster andPaige Hauschild adds to that depth, bringing important length for defense but creativity that makes her dangerous on offense.
Former Cutino Award winnerAmanda Longan rounds out the squad at goalkeeper giving Johnson a top flight back-up.
The 13 athletes are the centerpiece of a program that has become the most dominant women's water polo team on earth. Holding a number one ranking and every major available title since 2014, Team USA enters Tokyo as the favorite to return to the top of the podium. Already the first nation to win two Olympic titles in women's water polo, the United States previously held a 69-game win streak, the record in the modern era of women's water polo. This included an undefeated 2019 season where the squad went 37-0 while earning World Championship, World League and Pan American Games crowns.
Under a new format for the Tokyo Olympic Games, each nation will declare 12 active players before each match of the competition. The reduction in game day roster size from 13 to 12 was part of an expansion in the overall number of teams competing. The size of the women's tournament is now at 10 countries, up from eight, making it the largest Olympic women's water polo tournament ever.
Team USA is the only nation to medal in every Olympic Games featuring women's water polo. They've won gold twice (2012 & 2016), silver twice (2000 & 2008) and bronze once (2004).
U.S. Olympic Women's Water Polo Team Nominees – Tokyo Olympic Games (Hometown/College/USA Water Polo Club)