Steffens and Johnson headline U.S. women’s water polo roster for Tokyo Olympics

Maggie Steffens
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The U.S. women’s water polo teams is one of the most dominant teams in the world in any sport. The squad has won every major tournament it has entered in recent years and is favored to win a third straight gold medal in Tokyo.

On Wednesday, U.S. national team head coach Adam Krikorian announced the 13 athletes who will compete at the Tokyo Olympics:

  • Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC)
  • Maddie Musselman (Newport Beach, CA/UCLA/CdM Aquatics)
  • Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
  • Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL)
  • Paige Hauschild (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara 805)
  • Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC)
  • Stephania Haralabidis (Athens, Greece/USC/NYAC)
  • Jamie Neushul (Isla Vista, CA/Stanford/NYAC
  • Aria Fischer (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET)
  • Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Beach, CA/USC/NYAC)
  • Makenzie Fischer (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET)
  • Alys Williams (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Huntington Beach WPF)
  • Amanda Longan (Moorpark, CA/USC/Santa Barbara 805)

The 13-player roster includes eight players who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics (Johnson, Musselmann, Seidemann, Fattal, Steffens, A. Fischer, Gilchrist, M. Fischer) and two players who claimed gold in 2012 (Steffens and Seidemann).

RELATED: How it feels to be the last player cut from the US Olympic water polo team

In Tokyo, Maggie Steffens – widely regarded as the best women’s water polo player in the world – is expected to lead the team. In her Olympic debut in 2012, Steffens scored 21 goals, the most goals by one player in women’s Olympic water polo history. Four years later in Rio, she led the U.S. in scoring, recording 17 goals.

Melissa Seidemann, the other two-time gold medalist on the roster, has adapted to a new role since her last Olympic appearance. After making a name for herself as a top defender, Seidemann has spent more time at center in recent years.

Headlining the first-time Olympians is defender Alys Williams, who was the last player cut from the 2016 Olympic roster.

Several of the returning Olympians weren’t always sure they wanted to compete in Tokyo.

Goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson, who anchored the U.S. in 2016, took a year-and-a-half break from the national team after Rio. She completed her collegiate career at Princeton, then played abroad for two seasons.

Attacker Kaleigh Gilchrist, who made her personal Olympic debut in Rio, was initially aiming to compete in surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo. Gilchrist ultimately decided to return to the pool, helping the U.S. claim a third straight world title in 2019.

IN OTHER OLYMPIC ROSTER NEWS: Lloyd, Rapinoe, Morgan headline U.S. Olympic women’s soccer roster

U.S. Women’s Water Polo Results at Major Competitions

The U.S. women’s water polo team hasn’t lost a major international competition since 2013. To put that in perspective, here is every major tournament the team has entered since the 2012 London Olympics:

US women's water polo results

READ MORE: U.S. Olympic women’s water polo team named, eyes extending historic run

This story will continue to be updated.

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC