USA WOMEN'S WATER POLO TEAM SELECTED AS OLYMPIC TEAM OF THE MONTH
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced the USA Women’s World Championship Water Polo Team as its most recent Team of the Month. Swimmers Natalie Coughlin and Michael Phelps were named the USOC's Athletes of the Month.
The USA Women’s Water Polo Team went undefeated at the 2007 FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, winning all six of their games including three preliminary match-ups, quarterfinals, semifinals, and a gold medal round. Team USA entered the tournament ranked fourth behind Australia, Italy and Russia.
"We are honored to be recognized by the USOC," commented Head Coach Guy Baker.
With their advancement to this year’s semifinals, Team USA added another medal-round finish to their rich competition history, surpassing all other women’s national water polo teams with an eighth consecutive appearance since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. With their win, the USA (5) moved ahead of Italy and Netherlands (4) for most overall medals won at a World Championship.
Coming in second behind Coughlin for the Female Athlete of the Month was USA Water Polo's star goalkeeper, Betsey Armstrong. Armstrong (Ann Arbor, Mich.) backstopped Team USA to a gold medal at the FINA World Championships. As a result of her steady performance, Armstrong was named the tournament’s outstanding goalkeeper by the FINA Federation.
"I'm thrilled to have our team's success recognized at such a level, and to personally be complemented among fellow U.S. athletes Coughlin and Phelps," remarked Armstrong. "This year's World Championships proved to be a test of our ability to execute our roles and put them together as a team. An honor such as this is testament to the hard work and dedication of our program."
Next up for the USA Women's National Team is the FINA World League Preliminaries being held June 1-3, 2007, at the USA Water Polo National Training Center in Los Alamitos, CA