Six of the 13 players on the U.S. women’s water polo team are members of the famed New York club, which sent 55 members to the Olympic games this year. The women’s water polo team defeated Spain 8-5 in the finals to win gold.
Six of the 13 players on the U.S. women’s Olympic-gold-medal-winning water polo team are members of the New York Athletic Club (NYAC), which may have given the team its edge in beating Spain 8-5 in the finals, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
Athletes of the NYAC have competed in every modern Olympics since the first in 1896, winning 231 medals and 11 more in London. The last time a team representing the U.S. won an Olympic water polo competition was 1904, when a NYAC squad took the gold, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
“It’s always a great advantage to have opportunities to play with the same girls,” U.S. team member Heather Petri, a four-time Olympian, said. “You get to know them better in and out of the water.”
This year, 55 members of the NYAC competed in the Olympics, including 15 in water polo, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
“We’ve always been strong in water polo,” Athletic Director Cedric Jones said. The women’s team is “a strong-willed team, very talented. They play well together and they care about each other. They have chemistry.”
Petri and teammate Brenda Villa, who also scored in the final, won a record fourth consecutive medal after silvers in 2000 and 2008, and a bronze in 2004. Maggie Steffens scored five times for the Americans, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
The Americans have played more than 40 games together in the past year, giving them a degree of experience and camaraderie that their opponents can’t match.
“The club embraces the fact that we love to play a sport that is relatively unknown,” Petri said. They “genuinely care to see us succeed at the highest level. During high stress Olympic training sessions, sometimes that is all you need.”
The team ended its run of last-gasp Olympic losses at the gold medal match, which they previously lost to Australia in 2000 and the Netherlands in the 2008 finals, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
“Every member of the team is proficient at doing so many things,” Petri said. “So when you look at the bench there’s not a drop off at all.”news