LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- USA Water Polo announced the 2008 United States Teams for Men's and Women's Water Polo that will compete at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China starting August 8. The squads each qualified for the Olympics via Gold Medal victories at the 2007 Pan American Games and both are fresh off Silver Medal finishes at the 2008 FINA World League Super Final.
Leading the women's team onto the largest stage in international competition is 2008 Collegiate Water Polo Association Hall of Fame inductee and former University of Michigan standout Betsey Armstrong.
Armstrong, who has been blogging
for the New York
Times on the team's preparations for the 2008 Olympics,
spent four seasons tending the cage for the University of Michigan
Wolverines, leading the team to four divisional titles and two NCAA
tournament appearances, including a sixth-place finish at the 2005
NCAA Championship. She wrapped up her U-M career as the program
leader in blocks (1,267), minutes (3,329), goals against average
(5.64) and save percentage (.654). She also holds the top four
Michigan single-season blocks totals and three of the top five
spots on the single-season save percentage and GAA lists.
During her career with the Maize and Blue, Armstrong racked up a pair of divisional Most Valuable Player accolades (2003-04) and four CWPA All-Division First Team honors (2002-05). Armstrong excelled at the Eastern Championship, earning two MVP honors (2003, '05) as part of three All-Eastern Championship first team nominations (2002, 2004-05). On the national level, she earned All-America recognition in each season, making the second team in 2004, third team in 2005 and honorable mention in her first two campaigns at Michigan.
In May 2006, she earned a spot on the USA National Team following an open tryout. In just under two years with the squad, Armstrong has led Team USA to a gold medal at the XV Pan American Games -- securing the country's spot at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China -- and gold medal victories in both the FINA World League and FINA World Championships. At the World Championships, Armstrong was recognized as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Goalkeeper.
A product of Ann Arbor Huron High School, Armstrong was the Michigan water polo program's first in-state recruit. In addition, she is one of two Ann Arbor natives on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team joining former Stanford standout Alison Gregorka.
Armstrong and Gregorka are joined
by an All-Star lineup featuring captain Brenda Villa
(Stanford), who is headed to her third Olympic Games.
Joining her is another three-time Olympian in Heather Petri
(Cal-Berkeley) and two-timer Natalie Golda
(UCLA). The rest of the squad is made up of 10 first time
Olympians, including Armstrong and Gregorka, who despite the fact
are rich with experience having all spent at least the last two
years with the national team.
Moriah van Norman (USC), Lauren Wenger (USC), Patty Cardenas (USC), Brittany Hayes (USC), Kami Craig (USC), Elsie Windes (Cal-Berkeley), Jaime Hipp (UCLA) and Jessica Steffens (Stanford) round out the team.
U.S. Olympic Team for Women's Water Polo
Moriah van Norman