Team USA women’s water polo team has local feel

Huntington Beach, Calif. –  Adam Krikorian, Head Coach for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team, Thursday announced the 13 athletes that will compete at the 2012 Olympic Games this summer in London, England at a press conference at the LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles, Calif. Featuring seven returners from the 2008 team that won the Silver Medal, and eight athletes overall with Olympic Games experience, the team clinched a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games by winning Gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“You try to create the most competitive environment you possibly can, and the great thing about the United States of America is that everyone is really competitive,” Krikorian said. “That’s what makes it the best country in the world. So when you get 50, 60 athletes, the best are going to rise to the top.

“You try to create the most competitive environment you possibly can, and the great thing about the United States of America is that everyone is really competitive. That’s what makes it the best country in the world. So when you get 50, 60 athletes, the best are going to rise to the top.”

Led by Team Captain Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) the U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team is one of the most successful programs in international water polo history over the last 12 years. The only nation to win an Olympic Medal at every Olympic Games offering women’s water polo, a tally that includes two Silver Medals (2000 and 2008) and a Bronze (2004), the program has also won three World Championships and one World Cup title during that span.

“I think our chances look really good,” Villa said. “We’ve been training really hard for the past four years. We’re training and not taking anything for granted so we want to come out on top.

Villa is joined on the team by Heather Petri (Orinda, CA/California/NYAC); both will be the first U.S. women to compete in four Olympic Games in water polo.

2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team (Hometown/College/Club)
1. Betsey Armstrong – Goalkeeper (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC)*
2. Heather Petri – Attacker (Orinda, CA/California/NYAC)#%*
3. Melissa Seidemann – Defender (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford)
4. Brenda Villa – Attacker (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club)#%*
5. Lauren Wenger – All-Around (Long Beach, CA/USC/NYAC)*
6. Maggie Steffens – Defender (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo)
7. Courtney Mathewson – Attacker (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC)
8. Jessica Steffens – Defender (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC)*
9. Elsie Windes – Defender (Portland, OR/California/Tualatin Hills WP)*
10. Kelly Rulon – Attacker (San Diego, CA/UCLA/NYAC)%
11. Annika Dries – Center (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET)
12. Kami Craig – Center (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara WPF)*
13. Tumua Anae – Goalkeeper (Newport Beach, CA/USC/SOCAL)
#2000 Olympian
%2004 Olympian
*2008 Olympian

The U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team will open competition at the 2012 Olympic Games against Hungary on July 30. That is followed by a match against Spain on Aug. 1, and China on Aug. 3, to close out preliminary play in Group A. The quarterfinals are set for Aug. 5, followed by the semifinals on Aug. 7, and the medal round on Aug. 9.