Sports Seidemann going for 3rd straight water polo gold with US

09:17  22 july  2021
09:17  22 july  2021 Source:   msn.com

USA TODAY Sports picks every medal for every Olympic event

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The USA women’s water polo team is one of the most dominant outfits in Olympic sport. The two-time defending Olympic champions have won every world title since 2015 and, while a pre-lockdown loss to Australia and the stresses of COVID-19 have thrown up a host of challenges, star defender Melissa “ We were beginning to change why we were playing as a group,” admitted Seidemann , who has been an ever-present in the team after bursting onto the scene a decade ago. “It was no longer to always try and win. We started to feel like we were protecting something, and it was kind of eating away at little

And finally, at London in 2012, the gold , standing at the top of the podium at last. The U . S . is on its way to an unprecedented fifth straight podium finish in women’s water polo . The women beat Hungary in a semifinal, 14-10, to advance to the gold -medal game. The U . S . will face Italy on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the first matchup of previous gold medal winners. “I’m pretty excited to go for another medal, but it’s really about taking the opportunities as they come,” Seidemann said. “This is the first gold medal (game) for this team. I think it’s about going out there and playing like you have something to win.”

TOKYO — Melissa Seidemann could have walked away after the 2016 Olympics. An NCAA champion at Stanford, she had just won her second straight gold medal with the U.S. women's water polo team.

a child swimming in a body of water © Provided by The Canadian Press

There was nothing left to prove. No questions left to answer. But Seidemann took a different approach.

“I think I've always been motivated by my competitive nature. I've always been motivated by my teammates,” Seidemann said. “And I think that coming back in 2017, I kind of just looked at the team and I was like ‘Man, I can still make an impact there.’ And that's what brought me back.”

The U.S. is sure glad Seidemann decided to stick around, solidifying its depth at centre — one of the most demanding positions in the sport with its physicality right in front of the goal. Next up for Seidemann and company is their Tokyo Olympics opener against Japan on Saturday.

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Team USA claimed its fifth straight tournament title and 12th overall with an 8-6 victory over the Netherlands in Kunshan, China. The team now has the longest streak of wins by any country in the women’s World League – the Americans won four straight from 2009-12 – and tied the longest men’s streak (Serbia, 2013-17). It is the eighth World League Super Final gold medal for two-time Olympic champions Maggie Steffens and Melissa Seidemann . 2016 Olympic champions Kiley Neushul and Rachel Fattal collected their fifth Super Final golds , Kaleigh Gilchrist now has four and Ashleigh

Scoring USA Women’s Water Polo 14 (5, 4, 2, 3) GRE 3 (0, 1, 1, 1) USA : M. Musselman 3, J. Neushul 3, P. Hauschild 2, A. Fischer 2, M. Seidemann 1, R. Fattal 1, K. Neushul 1, K. Gilchrist 1 GRE: E. Plevritou 2, Tsoukala 1 Saves – USA – A. Longan 11 – GRE – Kotsioni 2 – Stamatopoulou 0 Penalties – USA 2/2 – GRE. — The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with USA Water Polo . For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact Advertising@SwimmingWorld.com.

“She's someone that just has a presence about her,” U.S. attacker Kaleigh Gilchrist said. “She knows who she is in her skin, and she's comfortable and confident with who she is.”

That comfort rubs off on the players around her, so much so that coach Adam Krikorian has challenged her to be even more of a leader.

“I've said this to Melissa for years and I'm happy to say this publicly,” he said. “When she is engaged and committed to this process and the journey, she's an incredible leader, a dynamic leader. But where we've missed and where she struggles is just with that consistency.”

Seidemann is an Illinois native, but she grew up in Northern California. Seidemann, one of three sisters, joined a community swim team in California, and one of her coaches played water polo at the University of California. That's how she got started.

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The United States women’s water polo team completed its march through the Olympic Qualifying Tournament Monday, defeating Italy 11-5 in Gouda, Netherlands, to win the gold medal. The only team to medal in every Olympics since women’s water polo was added to the competition program in 2000, the United States could become the first to successfully defend a women’s Olympic gold . They already have made their mark by becoming the first team to hold all four of the sport’s major titles at one time as reigning champions in the Olympics, the world championships, World Cup and World League.

United States players cheer in the Women's Water Polo Gold Medal match between the United States and Italy on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. But many of their shots failed to get past American goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson – who saved a crucial early penalty and 9 of 13 shots overall. With their second gold medal in hand, the U . S . women's team has gone from being strong — it's never failed to medal at the Olympics — to bidding for a dynasty.

She went from College Park High School to Stanford, where she scored 239 goals, matching the school record. She also was the Cutino Award winner in 2013, given to the nation's top collegiate water polo player.

In a pool full of tough players, Seidemann is often tasked with establishing position inside, and moving opponents out of position when she is on defence. It's not for everyone, but it works for her.

“I was always the one that was beating up on my older sister. I always had like a hot burning temper,” a smiling Seidemann said. “It's a good position. Both offence and defence, it suits me.”

Seidemann is close with her family, and Tokyo is the first Olympics since her mother, Bobbie, died in September after she had a third stroke. She was 63.

Bobbie Seidemann also had a stroke right before the 2016 Games, and Melissa balanced the Olympic schedule with trips to a Brazil hospital to spend time with her mother.

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Water Polo is the oldest modern Olympic team sport having been introduced in the 1900 Games and the New York Athletic Club Water Polo Team has been a part of it since those early days. Early United States Olympic Teams were decided simply by the winner of the US National Championships. And so began a long tradition of national and international success for the NYAC Water Polo teams, including gold in the 1904 St. Louis Games and representing the US on several occasions. This changed in the 1960's when US Water Polo created a national team and players competed for such coveted spots.

For the tournament, the United States outscored opponents 73-32 and won all six games by at least four goals. In London, the Americans had claimed their first gold medal on toughness and grit. In Rio, they became the first nation with two gold medals and laid claim to the title of best women’s water When Seidemann walked into the mixed zone to speak with reporters, she buried her face in her hands and bawled. “Sorry, I’ve been holding it in this whole time,” Seidemann said. “Everybody’s tears are coming from different places.” When the game ended, Krikorian and the rest of his staff leaped into

“I knew that if I was going to have any impact on the team, I had to be there when I was in the pool,” she said. “So I just did my best to know that when I was with my family that that was special time. And I was thankful that I got that time. And when I was in the pool, I had to be with the team.”

When COVID-19 disrupted the U.S. training schedule last year, it created more opportunities for Melissa to spend time with her mother before she passed away. Asked if that helps as she deals with her loss, Seidemann responded: “It was a difficult time.”

Also during her preparation for Tokyo, Seidemann accepted a head coaching job with Corona del Mar High School. Her little sister, Natalie, also coaches high school water polo in California.

Kelly Rulon, another member of the 2012 Olympic team, was serving as the interim coach at Corona del Mar, and she spoke with Melissa Seidemann about the position. Seidemann has coached club and college ball before.

“I love coaching. ... I’ve always loved working with kids,” she said. “And, you know, water polo seems like a natural fit to me because I have so much knowledge of the game and years of experience working with fundamentals and such. So it’s really easy. The content is very readily accessible for me to teach, but it’s really working with the kids that I love.”

She has plenty of lessons to pass along.


Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap


More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jay Cohen, The Associated Press

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