Merrill Moses Retires from International Water Polo


  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Swimming: August 6-13
  • Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Barra Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro
  • Prelims – 9:00 a.m/12:00 p.m PST/EST (1:00 p.m local), Finals – 6:00 p.m/9:00 p.m PST/EST (10:00 p.m local)
  • Schedule & Results

A legend of American water polo has played the last match of his career for Team USA. 39-year old goalie Merrill Moses posted before yesterday’s match against Italy, which the United States won by a score of 10-7, that it was to be his last match for Team USA.

That ends an era of American water polo, as the 6’3″ Moses has been Team USA’s goalie for the last three Olympics – including being named to the Olympic all-star team in 2008 when the Americans made it to the gold medal match, where they ultimately fell to Hungary.

The last two Olympics haven’t been as fortuitous for the American side. “At that moment we really didn’t realise what we had done because all we thought was we lost the gold medal,” Moses said after Sunday’s final match – as the Americans failed to advance out of the group stage of the tournament. “Now looking back, after two Olympics without competing for a gold medal I realise just how special that was.”

Moses is part of a generation of American water polo players that brought the program to a peak in the first decade of the 2000s. That squad, which included 5-time Olympian Tony Azevedo and 4-time Olympian Jesse Smith, won the United States’ first Olympic medal in 20 years in 2008. They also took 2nd in that year’s FINA World League – matched by their 2016 result.

Azevedo and Smith haven’t announced their future plans yet, though USA Water Polo has hinted that retirement is at least being considered with “IF this was their last Team USA match, thank you” (paraphrased).

Azevedo for his part said he wasn’t ready to make a knee-jerk decision. The 34-year old who was born in Rio had this to say after his last match of the Rio Games: “Right now I’m just pretty depressed. I’m going to spend all day at the beach tomorrow and then go home. I’ll finish my professional career here in Brazil and then I’ll decide what I want to do in the future.”

Moses’ retirement leaves the 6’8″ McQuin Baron, a 20-year old who plays at USC, as the favorite to take over. UCLA’s Garrett Danner, the defending NCAA Division I Player of the Year, outplayed Baron in last year’s NCAA Championship game, but with around an 8-inch height difference between the two, Team USA coach Dejan Udovicic has shown a preference for Baron’s size in the goal.

Moses spent last season as the assistant coach at his alma mater Pepperdine.


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Dan K
7 years ago

Danner is the best goalie in the US and should have been an Olympian! Americans are being fooled by Euro coaches. They get paid a lot of money to keep us behind their homeland teams.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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