BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — The Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) looks back at the outstanding athletes, referees and coaches who have made Hall of Fame caliber marks on the league.
A 2008 inductee to the league’s Hall of Fame, Betsey Armstrong of the University of Michigan went from the a state named for the Ojibwe word mishigami (meaning “large water” or “large lake”) to the largest stages of water polo with the United States Olympic Team.
The goalkeeper for the United States National Team at the time of her induction, she spent four seasons tending the cage for the University of Michigan Wolverines, leading the team to four CWPA division titles and two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament appearances, including a sixth-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Championship. The program’s first in-state recruit and a graduate of Ann Arbor (Mich.) High School, 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).
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.
“To be able to do it was just wonderful because you want the best for your players and you want them to follow their dream and that’s what Betsey (Armstrong) has done. It was a very very special moment, ” noted former Michigan head coach Matt Anderson.
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.
She was a member of the U.S. women’s national team from 2006-12 and competed in two Olympic Games, earning a gold medal in London in 2012 and a silver medal in Beijing in 2008.
In addition, she competed in men’s collegiate club water polo with Arizona State University during the 2008 season helping the Sun Devils to the Men’s National Collegiate Club Championship tournament.
A 2019 inductee to the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame, Armstrong has served as an assistant coach at Michigan and Marist College since the conclusion of her playing career.