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    U.S. women’s water polo blends youth and experience with roster selections for Paris Olympics
    • May 30, 2024

    Seven first-time Olympians will join decorated Southern California attackers Maddie Musselman, Rachel Fattal and Kaleigh Gilchrist on the U.S. women’s water polo team at the Paris Olympics as it attempts to claim a fourth consecutive gold medal.

    The U.S. federation announced its 13-player Olympic roster on Thursday as the countdown continues toward opening ceremonies in Paris on July 26.

    “We have a healthy mix, I believe, of experience with youth,” U.S. coach Adam Krikorian said in a statement released by USA Water Polo.

    The roster closely matched the one deployed by Krikorian in Team USA’s 8-7 victory against Hungary in the gold-medal match at the World Aquatics Championships in February in Qatar.

    Six of the seven first-time Olympians played in the finale. The exception was Emily Ausmus, an 18-year-old from King High in Riverside and USC who will be the United States’ youngest player in Paris. She played earlier in the tournament.

    The other first-time Olympians joining Ausmus will be Jordan Raney (Mira Costa), center Tara Prentice (Murrieta Valley/UC Irvine), Jovana Sekulic, Ryann Neushul, Jewel Roemer and Jenna Flynn.

    The U.S. team will feature plenty of experience.

    Musselman (Corona del Mar/UCLA), Fattal (Los Alamitos/UCLA) and Gilchrist (Newport Harbor/USC) made their third consecutive Olympic team. Fattal and Musselman scored 12 and 11 goals, respectively, in Qatar. Fattal also won 15 sprints.

    Goalie Ashleigh Johnson, who had 53 saves at the World Championships, is another three-time Olympian. Goalie Amanda Longan (Oaks Christian/USC) became a two-time Olympian on Thursday.

    Team USA’s most experienced player will be Maggie Steffens, who was selected to her fourth consecutive Olympic team to tie the U.S. women’s record.

    Steffens, who led the Americans with 15 goals in Qatar, joins Brenda Villa and Heather Petri as a four-time U.S. Olympian.

    The U.S. men’s water polo team is expected to announce its roster for Paris on June 18.

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    ​ Orange County Register