Los Angeles, CA -- USA Water Polo is proud to announce the U.S. Olympic Teams for Men's and Women's Water Polo that will compete at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China starting August 8. The squads each qualified for the Olympics via Gold Medal victories at the 2007 Pan American Games and both are fresh off Silver Medal finishes at the 2008 FINA World League Super Final.
Leading the way for the women's team, the current FINA World Champions is captain Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford) who is headed to her third Olympic Games. Joining her is another three-time Olympian in Heather Petri (Orinda, CA/California) and two-timer Natalie Golda (Fullerton, CA/UCLA). The rest of the squad is made up of 10 first time Olympians who despite the fact are rich with experience having all spent at least the last two years with the national team.
Moriah van Norman (San Diego, CA/USC), Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA), Patty Cardenas (Commerce, CA/USC), Brittany Hayes (Santa Ana, CA/USC), and Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC) round out the Southern California contingent, as the five former college teammates will suit up for Team USA. Joining them are two of Michigan's finest in Alison Gregorka (Ann Arbor, MI/Stanford) and Bestey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan) along with the other non-Californian in Elsie Windes (Portland, OR/California). Last but not least are a pair from Central and Northern California in Jaime Hipp (Fresno, CA/UCLA) and Jessica Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford).
On the men's side two athletes also return for their Olympic Games in the form of team captain Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford) and veteran center Ryan Bailey (Long Beach, CA/UC-Irvine). Joining those two are five returning Olympians including Layne Beubien (Coronado, CA/Stanford), Adam Wright (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA), Jeff Powers (San Luis Obispo, CA/UC-Irvine), Jesse Smith (Coronado, CA/Pepperdine), and Brandon Brooks (Honolulu, HI/UCLA). Concluding the roster are six first timers including Rick Merlo (Fresno, CA/UC-Irvine), Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine), Peter Hudnut (Encino, CA/Stanford), Tim Hutten (Seal Beach, CA/UC-Irvine), Peter Varellas (Moraga, CA/Stanford), and JW Krumpholz (Santa Ana, CA/USC).
Alternates for the men's team are Brian Alexander (Cambria, CA/UCSB) and John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California) while Erika Figge (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA/USC) will serve as the alternate for the women. The men's team begins competition August 10 against China while the women start August 11 also against China.
"When we name the team it's a great time in our program, there is excitement and for some there is also relief. It's the last part, we got our team, this will be the team that will represent us at the Olympic Games." -- Guy Baker, Head Coach - U.S. Olympic Team for Women's Water Polo
"The last six months a big part of it was evaluation and selecting the team, and today we also are honoring the guys that didn't make it. Now we focus on these 13 guys and I think we have the potential to continue to improve and grow and make Team USA even better." -- Terry Schroeder, Head Coach - U.S. Olympic Team for Men's Water Polo
"(After 2004) It makes it that much sweeter. It's nice that it's done, now we can focus on what we need to do and the task at hand. We have some stuff to work on and people don't need to worry now, everyone knows their role, we've come together so much in the last forty days and now we just need to fine tune some things and we will be ready." -- Merrill Moses, Goalkeeper - U.S. Olympic Team for Men's Water Polo
"(Since 2004) I think I've gotten better, the reason I came back was I didn't feel like a true Olympian because I knew I could play better. I feel like an Olympian now with this group of girls, we have all the right pieces and it's incredibly exciting now to just be thinking about water polo and our next opponent." Natalie Golda, Defender - U.S. Olympic Team for Women's Water Polo
U.S. Olympic Team for Women's Water Polo
Moriah van Norman
U.S. Olympic Team for Men's Water Polo
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 Championships. With more than 30,000 members, USAWP is also the sanctioning authority for more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport nationwide. It fosters grass-roots expansion of the sport, providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches and officials.
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