Team USA Announces Veteran-Laden Squad for Paris Water Polo Four-Peat Bid

Photo Courtesy: USA Water Polo

Team USA Announces Veteran-Laden Squad for Paris Water Polo Four-Peat Bid

Team USA on Thursday unveiled its 13-member women’s water polo team for the Paris Olympics, a group that is looking for its fourth straight Olympic title.

The team was announced at a press conference at Republique in Los Angeles on Thursday. It is led by six players who won gold in Tokyo in 2021 and five that were part of the Rio Olympics. Maggie Steffens, the lone holdover from London in 2012, is bidding for her fourth gold.

The goalkeeping duo remains the same, with Cutino Award winners Ashleigh Johnson and Amanda Longan leading the way. Johnson was voted the top goalie of the Tokyo Olympics. Tokyo MVP Maddie Musselman is also back, while Rachel Fattal and Kaleigh Gilchrist are each trying to win a third gold medal.

“This journey has been really different than any one of the journeys that we have taken,” coach Adam Krikorian said. “This team has taken thirteen different journeys to get to this moment. Obviously through this journey, we’ve always been a team, but this one more than ever. … I’m excited to see what this team can do moving forward. I think we’ve grown a tremendous amount since last summer. This team knows they have grown a lot but also know that they need to continue to improve.”

The team is an intriguing mix of youth and experience. The youngest member of the team is Emily Ausmus, 18, who deferred her freshman year at USC. The center tandem is all new, with Tara Prentice joining Jovana Sekulic. Sekulic, a Princeton player, joins Johnson as the only other non-California, having been born in Serbia and raised in Pennsylvania.

The core of Stanford’s 2023 NCAA championship side bolsters the attack, with Ryann Neushul, Jewel Roemer and Jenna Flynn. Defender Jordan Raney is a longtime program standby, though she’s in her first Olympics.

“(The team) is a perfect balance,” Steffens said. “The recipe we have with youth and first-timers brings a new perspective – that passion, that heart, that drive helps the veterans reignite that fire. And those who have been through this before can share their experience and give a different perspective. That recipe creates what we’re looking for, which is teamwork.”

“With such a disparity between the experience and youth on this team, we really relied on the leadership from the experienced players, probably more so than ever before,” Krikorian said. “When you have an eighteen-year-old and a nineteen-year-old going through this for the very first time, it’s intimidating, it’s really hard, and there’s a lot of anxiety and pressure that comes with it. Being able to have experienced leaders who handle themselves professionally, with maturity and competitiveness, and care and compassion literally every day makes it so much easier for me and our entire staff. On the other end of it is the young ones – you’re only as good of a leader as the people who follow. The energy and the willingness to learn from the experiences of the past and bring that into this journey has been remarkable.”

The U.S. is the reigning world champion from the Doha World Championships earlier this year after finishing fifth in Fukuoka in 2023. That interrupted a string of four straight world titles. The U.S. qualified for Paris via the Pan Am Games in the fall of 2023.

Team USA has never failed to medal at an Olympic Games since women’s water polo was added in 2000, with three golds, two silvers and a bronze. No program, men’s or women’s, has ever won four straight Olympic water polo gold medals.

2024 Team USA Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team

  • Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC)
  • Maddie Musselman (Newport Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC)
  • Tara Prentice (Temecula, CA/UC Irvine/NYAC
  • Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC)
  • Jenna Flynn (San Jose, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
  • Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
  • Jordan Raney (Manhattan Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
  • Ryann Neushul (Goleta, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
  • Jewel Roemer (Martinez, CA/Stanford/680 Water Polo)
  • Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Beach, CA/USC/NYAC)
  • Emily Ausmus (Riverside, CA/USC/NYAC)
  • Jovana Sekulic (Haverford, PA & Belgrade, Serbia/Princeton/NYAC)
  • Amanda Longan (Moorpark, CA/USC/NYAC)


  • Head Coach: Adam Krikorian
  • Assistant Coaches: Molly Cahill and Chris Oeding
  • Sports Medicine Manager: Larnie Boquiren
  • Team Manager: Ally Beck
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