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It might be hard to remember now, but it all started with heartbreak. In front of 17,000 fans – still considered by many as the largest audience ever to watch a women’s water polo match – Australia stunned the up-and-coming Americans on Yvette Higgins’s goal with just seconds to play to win Olympic gold in 2000. It wasn’t the kind of stunning when a favourite loses but more the stunning that occurs when an underdog starts to build momentum that seems unstoppable. 


FINA World Championships

Gold Medal

Women’s tournament
FINA World League

Gold Medal

Women’s Super Final

"We have a culture of excellence"

Creating a strong pipeline as water polo became an Olympic sport was crucial to the future development of the sport. Having the recognition and opportunity to compete as an NCAA sport has helped maintain the excellence. The easy access to the national team has given every young girl the opportunity to dream big.

We have a culture of excellence in the United States and I know that one of my motivators was seeing other female team sports win [Olympic] gold and eventually have pro leagues. Even with Olympic gold, I’m still dreaming of the day we can give that (league) opportunity to female water polo players.

"Highlight everyone's best qualities"

This team does an amazing job of maintaining pieces of culture in the transition from team to team, but also embracing new people and new personalities each competition. We set our standards high always, and we expect new people to come into the programme with a certain level of understanding and ability – but we also make sure to create a team around what we have and highlight everyone's best qualities.

Other winners

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