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Olympic Champions Kelly Rulon, Elsie Windes Headline USA Water Polo Hall Of Fame’s 2020 Class

By Karen Price | March 31, 2020, 4:17 p.m. (ET)

Kelly Rulon prepares to pass during a match on July 30, 2012 in London, England.


Kelly Rulon and Elsie Windes were members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team that won the country’s first gold medal in the sport and helped start a run of dominance that continues today. 

The teammates also earned Olympic medals prior to that as well.

Gavin Arroyo, meanwhile, parlayed his Olympic and international success with the men’s national team into a coaching career that’s also earned him a reputation as one of the best.

Now all three are forever united as members of the 36th induction class for the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame, announced on Tuesday. The three Olympians join referee and Olympic Games administrator Gary Robinett as well as former USA Water Polo executive director Bruce Wigo as the newest inductees.

Rulon sandwiched two successful stints with the national team around a decorated club career overseas. A rising star at UCLA, she made her Olympic debut as a 19-year-old in 2004 in Athens, just the second time that women’s water polo was contested at the Games, and helped Team USA win a bronze medal. After helping the U.S. to a silver medal at the next year’s FINA World Championships, Rulon took a break from the national team until 2009, when she came back and led the U.S. offense at that year’s FINA World Championships with 12 goals on 20 shots. Three years later, she was part of the 2012 U.S. team that won the gold medal in London, helping launch a dynasty that continues to dominate the sport.

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Windes was a standout at Cal-Berkeley when she joined the national team in 2006. A tough defender, she helped the U.S. go undefeated and win the FINA World Championships in 2007 and then made her Olympic debut in 2008 in Beijing, where the U.S. won silver. She also was part of the 2009 FINA World Championship team and the 2012 Olympic team, both of which won gold. 

Arroyo also started with the national team while still competing collegiately at Cal, where he helped the team go undefeated in 1992 and win three consecutive NCAA championships. He made his Olympic debut in Atlanta in 1996 and returned again in 2000, helping the U.S. win gold at the FINA World Cup in between. He’s now in his 14th season as head coach at Long Beach State and has helmed the men’s development and junior national teams the last five years.

The inductees will be honored at a luncheon, the details of which are not yet available. 

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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Kelly Rulon

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Elsie Windes