Back in Rio, when the U.S. women’s water polo team dominated the 2016 Olympic Games, winning their second-consecutive gold medal and outscoring their opponents 73-27, that’s all the time they found themselves trailing an opponent. Forty-four seconds. In six games. On the sport’s biggest stage. Against the best competition in the world.
That 2016 Olympic team is considered perhaps the greatest team in women’s water polo history. That distinction might be short-lived.
The squad assembled for this summer’s Games in Tokyo might be even better. The roster revealed on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles boasts eight returning Olympians — twice as many as the 2016 team had at its disposal.
That core of experienced, established players was involved in the 69-match winning streak — believed to be the longest ever in women’s water polo — that stretched from April 2018 until January 2020. And if their recent play at the 2021 FINA World League Super Final is any indication, Team USA is ready to rock again.
Playing its first international event since the pre-pandemic days of 2019, the U.S. women won the tournament for the seventh consecutive time (and 14th overall). The U.S. has won all seven competitions it has participated in since Rio, and the top-ranked team in the world appears poised for an unprecedented third straight gold medal in Tokyo.
Here’s a look at Team USA.