Five gold medalists from Orange County were among the 13 women’s water polo players that will be nominated to represent the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics, USA Water Polo announced Wednesday.
Attackers Rachel Fattal, Kaleigh Gilchrist and Maddie Musselman and sisters Aria and Makenzie Fischer are among eight gold medalists on the team which will attempt to win its third consecutive gold medal.
Defender Alys Williams of Huntington Beach is among the five first-time Olympians on the team. The Edison High School and UCLA alumnus is the first woman in program history to be the last cut for a previous Olympic roster and then make the next Games team.
Women’s water polo has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
Fattal is a Seal Beach resident and Los Alamitos High School alumnus. She has played professionally in Australia since her graduation from UCLA.
Gilchrist is Newport Beach resident, Newport Harbor High and USC alumnus. She has completely recovered from a serious leg injury suffered during a fall after the 2019 FINA World Championships in South Korea.
Musselman is a Newport Beach resident and Corona del Mar High School alumnus who has one season of eligibility remaining at UCLA. She was the MVP at the 2017 FINA World Championships and 2019 FINA World League Super Final.
The Fishers are both Laguna Beach residents and Laguna Beach High School alumni who play for Stanford.
Makenzie Fischer is a defender who has one season of college eligibility remaining. She was second the team with 21 goals in the 2019 Pan American Games.
Aria Fischer is a center with two seasons of college eligibility remaining. At the age of 17, she became the youngest female team sport athlete in U.S. Olympic history to win a gold at a Summer Olympic Games.
Their father Erich was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team that finished fourth.
“We’re determined, we’re ambitious, this is really only the beginning for us and we look forward to fighting for one another to achieve even more of an Olympic dream and fighting for that Olympic gold not just for each other, not just for the women that came before us as our alumni but for all of you as well,” team captain Maggie Steffens, a member of the 2012 and 2016 gold medal-winning teams said at the news conference at the DoubleTree hotel in Little Tokyo announcing the selections.
Final approval of the selections is required by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and will be announced at a later date.
The U.S. is scheduled to begin play in the Olympics against host Japan July 23 at 10 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.