The ODP and NCAA structure has clearly helped identify and prepare our women for the next level.” Kiley Neushul, Team Captain World University Games 2017, Olympic Gold Medalist 2016…”Team USA’s path to the top is based on a legacy of hard work and strong teams.A number of 2016 women Olympians have family members that played elite water polo and passed on these values.
Looking specifically at the Olympics and retirements after Beijing, London, and Rio, we are maintaining our consistency because the pipeline is stocked due to the factors I mentioned above.
As far as dominance, and continued dominance, this is our advantage.
At the 2004 Olympics, Italy and Greece won gold and silver; in 2008, they were 6th and 8th.
Italy fell to 7th in London and Greece failed to qualify for London and Rio.
ODP added real competition between zones about 10 years ago.
By the time an international caliber player reaches college, she has played a significantly larger amount of important games than a player two decades ago.
Rather than bottom-up growth, we experienced top-down growth.
The opportunities to play in college led high schools to rapidly add girls water polo, which in turn created demand for 14-under programs.
After winning the gold in Beijing, the Netherlands failed to qualify in 20.