USA women's water polo completes 3-peat with rout of Spain

Posted at 2:06 AM, Aug 07, 2021

Too quick. Too strong. Too deep.

The United States women's water polo team completed a three-peat on Saturday, beating Spain 14-5 to add gold in Tokyo 2020 to the top honors it collected in Rio 2016 and London 2012.

This wasn't close. The U.S. built a 6-1 lead, giving the affair the feel of a coronation by the midpoint of a third quarter which ended with the Americans leading 12-4.

"This is what we were building to," said goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson after the win. "Our whole team came out to play and showed up in the right moment. We supported each other and it's so amazing to come back with so much energy, love, and passion. It was palpable in the water today."

Olympic all-time scoring leader Maggie Steffens added to her total with the game's second goal, but this was not a one-player show.

Nine different Americans scored and four provided multiple goals: Alys WilliamsKaleigh GilchristAria Fischer, and Maddie Musselman.

Goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson and the defense were exceptional, keeping Spain to five goals on 32 shots. The U.S. only conceded one goal in the second half.

Johnson been outspoken in her desire to be a standard-bearer for black athletes in the pool as well as women in athletics.

"I represent Miami. I represent people of color in aquatics. I represent this team. I represent women in sport," Johnson said. "I know that every single person on our team represents our own group and we take that very seriously. I'm so proud to represent who I represent because I hope they watch, see themselves where we are, and find some hope, find some passion, find some energy from what our team just showed."

The Americans have medaled at all six women's water polo tournaments at the Olympics, this third gold joining two silvers and a bronze. This is Spain's second medal, both silver.

Maica Garcia scored two of Spain's four goals.