“One of the most talented groups ever” – Adam Krikorian Interview

On Thursday at a press conference at LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles, U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team Head Coach Adam Krikorian announced the 13 athletes that will compete for Team USA this August at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Four years after winning the first Olympic gold in program history in the Summer of 2012 in London, Krikorian has assembled a team he calls, “one of the most talented groups ever to play the game.”

The U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team is currently ranked number one in the world. They have won every major tournament since 2014 including the FINA World Championship, FINA World Cup, Pan American Games title, and three FINA World League Super Final titles. This past March they claimed gold at the Olympic Qualification Tournament, earning a berth to the 2016 Olympic Games following a 19-0 victory over France in the quarterfinal round.

Following speeches by LA84 President and CEO Renata Simril and LA 2024 Vice Chair Janet Evans, Krikorian introduced the 13 members of Team USA, saying:

“There are things that we wanted to emphasize, one was identifying and enhancing leadership. Leadership is so important, in team sports, specifically and leadership within the group and within the team. I can’t thank the older players enough. We have four returning Olympians that have provided incredible leadership for us. The other thing was great competition. We wanted to open the door for young athletes as I’ll introduce, you’ll see we have a very wide range of ages. We wanted to open the door for young and new athletes to come in and compete for spots. Knowing how young we were at the time and probably our average age, going back to 2014, it must have been close to 20 or 21 years old. We knew that it was going to be important to focus on skill development and spending the time and the effort to improve.

“Moving forward for us, I think about it a lot, and I mentioned this a couple of years ago, when you’ve had the success that we’ve had, you worry about complacency, you worry about being too confident. One thing that comes to mind is just that we continue to be humble enough to prepare but confident enough to perform, and I think that’s really our focus moving forward to strive and get better.

“Lastly, before I get to the team, I just want to say that I mentioned chasing a dream for us, it’s clear we want to try to stay on top of the podium, that’s every Olympian’s goal, is to stand on top of the podium and get a chance to put your right hand over your heart and listen to your National Anthem. There’s nothing greater than that. I think what gets lost sometimes is that, that result, the one thing, that is very clear moving forward, and this group, we’re going to be chasing a bit of a different dream, as well, and that dream is the way in which we play, the way in which we carry ourselves, the way in which we treat each other, the way in which we show how tough we are, both physically and mentally, is having that vision, and that for me is more important, I know for us as well, more than anything. If we can do those things, I certainly like our chances, but that’s the dream that we’re chasing, more than just being on top of the podium.”   – Adam Krikorian, U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team Head Coach


2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team (Hometown/School/USAWP Club)
1. Sami Hill – GK (Santa Barbara, CA/UCLA/Santa Barbara)
2. Maddie Musselman – A (Newport Beach, CA/Corona del Mar HS/CdM Aquatics)
3. Melissa Seidemann – D (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
4. Rachel Fattal – A (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL)
5. KK Clark – D (Menlo Park, CA/UCLA/NYAC)
6. Maggie Steffens – A (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
7. Courtney Mathewson – A (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC)
8. Kiley Neushul – A (Goleta, CA/Stanford/Santa Barbara)
9. Aria Fischer – C (Laguna Beach, CA/Laguna Beach HS/SET)
10. Kaleigh Gilchrist – A (Newport Beach, CA/USC/NYAC)
11. Makenzie Fischer – D (Laguna Beach, CA/Laguna Beach HS/SET)
12. Kami Craig – C (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/NYAC)
13. Ashleigh Johnson – GK (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC)
Head Coach: Adam Krikorian
Asst. Coaches: Dan Klatt and Chris Oeding
Team Manager: Jen Adams Funakura

All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

About USA Water Polo

USA Water Polo, Inc. is the national governing body for water polo in America, overseeing our United States Olympic program as well as 20 different championship events annually, such as Junior Olympics and Masters National Championships. With more than 40,000 members, USAWP is also the sanctioning authority for more than 500 Member Clubs and more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport throughout the US. It fosters grass-roots expansion of the sport, providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches and officials.

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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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