FINA Honors Maggie Steffens, Filip Filipović as 2021 Best Water Polo Players

FINA, the international governing body for 6 aquatic disciplines, has handed out its 2021 best-of awards.

Presented at a gala on Friday evening at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Hotel, in conjunction with the World Short Course Swimming Championships, 12 superlatives were handed out for best Male and Female athlete in each of the organization’s 6 disciplines.

American Maggie Steffens and Serbian Filip Filipović were awarded the Best Water Polo Players of 2021.

Team captain Steffens led the United States to its third consecutive and overall gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games. During the tournament she scored her 49th goal, which set a new record for the most goals scored by a female water polo player over the course of an Olympic career.

She then added more to her goal total during the elimination rounds. Steffens scored three goals in the quarterfinals, another three in the semifinals, and one in the gold medal match in which the United States dominated Spain 14-5.

This is the second time she has won the award: she was first given the honor in 2012.

Filipović led Serbia to its second Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, defeating Greece by a score of 13-10. During the tournament, the Serbian captain scored 16 goals on 27 shots and also blocked 10 shots. He was named to the all-tournament team and awarded MVP.

This marked his fourth Olympic medal, after winning bronze in 2008 and 2012, and gold in 2016. This is also the second time Filipović has been recognized by FINA as Best Male Water Polo Player of the year: the first came in 2011.

FINA did not hand out awards in 2020 after the Olympic Games were postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The full list of awards can be seen below.

  • Best Male Water Polo Player in 2021: Filip Filipović (2nd award)
  • Best Female Water Polo Player in 2021: Maggie Steffens (2nd award)
  • Best Male Artistic Swimmer in 2021: Aleksandr Maltsev (4th award)
  • Best Female Artistic Swimmer in 2021: Svetlana Kolesnichenko (3rd award) & Svetlana Romashina (6th award)
  • Best Male Diver in 2021: Xie Siyi (2nd award)
  • Best Female Diver in 2021: Shi Tingmao (6th award)
  • Best Male High Diver in 2021: Owen Weymouth (1st award)
  • Best Female High Diver in 2021: Ellie Smart (1st award)
  • Best Male Swimmer in 2021: Caeleb Dressel (3rd award)
  • Best Female Swimmer in 2021: Emma McKeon (1st award)
  • Best Male Open Water Swimmer in 2021: Florian Wellbrock (1st award)
  • Best Female Open Water Swimmer in 2021: Ana Marcela Cunha (7th award)

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