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USA Women’s Water Polo: Evolution and Doha Trials
- Updated: January 8, 2024
After 8 years on top, can the women’s USA water polo team reclaim the sport’s pinnacle? Coach Adam Krikorian sheds light on their journey and challenges. From 2012-2020, the USA women’s water polo team enjoyed an unprecedented reign, securing three consecutive Olympic golds, four World titles, and seven World Aquatics Water Polo World Cup titles. However, the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka marked a turning point, as they finished 5th, signaling a crack in their dominance. In an exclusive interview with coach Adam Krikorian, there’s a glimpse into the team’s evolution and determination to stay competitive.
Coach Krikorian acknowledges the uniqueness of the past teams, particularly those that excelled in Rio and Tokyo. As the team undergoes transitions with new players and challenges, the focus is on maintaining the performance level of experienced players while integrating younger talents. Krikorian emphasizes the importance of keeping the team fresh and healthy, highlighting the need for a balance between experienced and emerging players.
Reflecting on their historic unbeaten streak from 2014 to 2021, Krikorian attributes their success to a combination of factors. The team’s exceptional talent, selflessness, and competitive drive played crucial roles. Krikorian stresses the quarter of selflessness, where every team member prioritized the team over individual interests, contributing to their incredible achievements.
The coach recognizes the changing dynamics with a shorter Olympic cycle, posing both opportunities and challenges. The introduction of new, young players born in or after 2000 adds a layer of complexity. While the team embraces these new talents, the shorter runway between Olympics demands quicker adaptation and development. Krikorian acknowledges the positives and negatives associated with representing the USA women’s water polo team, emphasizing the high expectations and the pressure that comes with being part of a storied national team.
Looking ahead, the team faces the unique challenge of the condensed opportunity between Olympics. With a shorter period between the two Games, Krikorian stresses the team’s commitment to improvement and learning from past experiences. The coach mentions the efforts to create a clearer and more determined team identity, exploring different players and strategies to enhance cohesion.
As the team prepares for the upcoming World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Krikorian anticipates a different team compared to Fukuoka. The focus remains on growth, learning, and becoming a better version of themselves. While the desire to win every tournament is present, the coach emphasizes that the primary goal is continuous improvement. Doha serves as a crucial trial run for the Olympic Games, providing an opportunity to compete against the world’s best teams and navigate the pressures of a major championship.
In essence, the USA women’s water polo team, after their unparalleled dominance, is navigating a period of transition and evolution. The journey involves integrating new talents, adapting to a changing competitive landscape, and maintaining a commitment to excellence. As they approach the challenges ahead, the team’s resilience, experience, and hunger for improvement will define their quest to reclaim the sport’s pinnacle.
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By- Sahiba Suri