U.S. Olympic water polo women’s head coach Adam Krikorian announced the women’s roster for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, California.
All 13 women are members of this year’s U.S. National team which is coming off a gold medal win at the Fina World League Super Final in Greece last week.
2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team
- Ashleigh Johnson / goalkeeper / second-time Olympian
- Maddie Musselman / attacker / second-time Olympian
- Melissa Seidemann / defender, center/ third-time Olympian
- Rachel Fattal / attacker / second-time Olympian
- Paige Hauschild / defender / first-time Olympian
- Maggie Steffens / team captain / third-time Olympian
- Stephania Haralabidis / attacker, left hander / first-time Olympian
- Jamie Neushul / attacker / first-time Olympian
- Aria Fischer / center / second-time Olympian
- Kaleigh Gilchrist / attacker / second-time Olympian
- Makenzie Fischer / attacker, defender / second-time Olympian
- Alys Williams / defender / first-time Olympian
- Amanda Longan / goalkeeper / first-time Olympian
The U.S. has medaled every year since women’s water polo hit the Olympic stage in 2000. They won silver in 2000, bronze in 2004, silver in 2008, and have won gold in the past two Olympic cycles.
“I’m very excited about you seeing them pursue a three-peat … that’s a remarkable achievement,” said CEO of USA Water Polo Chris Ramsey.
Although, head coach Krikorian emphasized that the team is not too fixated on that goal. “We don’t spend a whole lot of time … talking about trying to win a third,” he said when asked if he has talked about the three-peat goal as motivation for the team.
“This team is its own team and it stands alone as its own team … We never went into this process like we’re trying to defend anything.” He said the team is most focused on playing the best they can play.
Krikorian highlighted that the Olympic team was being announced on Wednesday, June 23rd, the 49th anniversary of Title IX being signed into law. The original law states “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
“The team that will sit before you is a direct result of what happened in 1972,” Krikorian said.
He mentioned two other holidays that take place on June 23rd: Olympic and Paralympic Day and his daughter’s birthday. First, he remarked on the progress Team USA’s women have made due to programs like Title IX. For the latter, he teared up while thanking the team for giving his daughter role models she can identify with.
“The impact of what happened in 1972 has had a huge hand for our women on the Olympic stage. That year, 1972, Team USA women won 23 medals. Compare that to Rio when the women won an unbelievable 61 medals … something I know this team takes great pride in.”
Team captain Steffens then took the stage, thanking “the team behind the team” meaning the families of these athletes.
“It is such an honor for us to be up here … it’s more of an honor to get to share it with these women,” Steffens continued.
“We had a very challenging … past couple years. We faced endless adversity from postponement, pandemic…we always came out stronger…together. That’s where the magic lies with this team…Alone it didn’t feel possible but together anything felt possible throughout his experience. “
“We’re here to fight for one another,” she said.
The process of making this U.S. Olympic team been a unique experience, especially for repeat members of the Olympic team.
Krikorian listed some of the challenges the team faced during this past season including: “two traumatic experiences, lost loved ones, 3 fourteen thousand foot peaks hikes in one day … a week painfully sitting win silence, global pandemic, isolation …
“… loss of fitness, no hugs, annoying and awkward Zoom calls (with yours truly), lost teammates along the way, 453 days without a game, and 453 days of seeing your teammates as the opposition.”
Krikorian and other staff members were quick to thank a number of current and past U.S. National water polo team members who were not named to the Olympic roster today. “You’re seeing the stars at the top of the pyramid today,” said Ramsey before acknowledging and thanking the “base” of that pyramid, meaning everyone who has contributed to their journeys.
Krikorian specifically expressed his gratitude towards their collegiate and youth club coaches: “The impact of their previous coaches dating all the way back to when they first started the game…was phenomenal for each one of them.
“This process is never ever lost on me or my staff,” he said.