Six USC Water Polo Players Will Medal In Tokyo
USC water polo will see six Trojans on the Olympic podium in Tokyo with the USA-Spain women's gold-medal game featuring five Women of Troy and USC men's all-time top scorer Kostas Genidounias helping Greece ensure its first-ever medal with a spot in the men's gold-medal game.
It will be the largest medal haul for USC's water polo players since 2008, when six USC women won medals (five silver with Team USA and one gold with Netherlands) and one USC man won silver with Team USA.
The USA women's team boasts four Trojans — current USC student-athlete Paige Hauschild along with grads Kaleigh Gilchrist (2014), Stephania Haralabidis (2017) and Amanda Longan (2019). Hauschild, Haralabidis and Longan are all first-time Olympians. Meanwhile, three-time Olympian Anni Espar — a teammate of Gilchrist's on USC's 2013 NCAA Championship team — is an anchor again for Spain. Espar won silver with Spain in 2012, while Gilchrist has a gold with the USA from 2016. Combined, the five USC women have collected six national championship rings while Trojans.
Team USA and Spain are due to square off at 12:30 a.m PT on the early-morning of Saturday (August 7) in Tokyo.
Prior to that match, several other USC women are doing battle in classification games. In all, USC has 10 women competing in Tokyo — a program record.
In the fifth-place game, 2021 National Player of the Year Maud Megens headlines the Netherlands team, which takes on Australia and two Trojans — Hannah Buckling and Tilly Kearns — at 7 p.m. PT tonight (August 6). Megens and Kearns were teammates at Troy in 2019, and Kearns is set to return to USC for the coming 2021-22 school year and compete again with the Trojans. Megens won two NCAA championships (2018 and 2021) at USC; Buckling, meanwhile, was a member of that 2013 NCAA Championship team alongside USA's Gilchrist and Spain's Espar.
In the seventh-place game, first-time Olympians Joelle Bekhazi and Hayley McKelvey are leaders for Canada, which faces China at 5:30 p.m. this evening (April 6). Bekhazi (USC 2011) was Canada's first-ever NCAA champion when she helped USC win it all in 2010. A 2018 grad, McKelvey won two NCAA titles at Troy — in 2016 (alongside USA's Haralabidis) and in 2018 (with Megens, Hauschild and Longan).
On the men's side, 2014 USC grad Kostas Genidounias is making waves with Greece in his second trip to the Olympic Games. After scoring five goals in the Olympic quarterfinals, Genidounias was on-hand again for Greece as it made history with last night's win in the semifinals. That propels Genidounias and Greece to the podium for the first time. A three-time NCAA champion as a Trojan, Genidounias still stands as USC's all-time leading scorer. He'll go for gold with Greece against Serbia in the men's Olympic gold-medal game at 12:30 a.m. PT on Sunday (August 8).
Before that marquee match, USC will see two other Trojans in action during classification games. Team USA, which features two current USC student-athletes in Hannes Daube and Marko Vavic, takes on Croatia at 7 p.m. PT on Saturday (August 7). First-time Olympians Daube and Vavic were NCAA champions together in 2018 at USC.
Friday, Aug. 6
5:30 p.m. PT — Women's 7th/8th Place — Canada (Bekhazi & McKelvey) vs. China
7 p.m. PT — Women's 5th/6th Place — Netherlands (Megens) vs. Australia (Buckling & Kearns)
Saturday, Aug. 7
12:30 a.m. PT — Women's Gold/Silver — Spain (Espar) vs. USA (Gilchrist, Haralabidis, Hauschild & Longan)
7 p.m. PT — Men's 5th/6th Place — USA (Daube & Vavic) vs. Croatia
Sunday, Aug. 8
12:30 a.m. PT — Men's Gold/Silver — Greece (Genidounias) vs. Serbia
USC WATER POLO'S 2020 OLYMPIANS
^ — current USC student-athlete
* — first-time Olympian
Australia — Hannah Buckling | Tilly Kearns*^
Canada — Joelle Bekhazi* | Hayley McKelvey*
Netherlands — Maud Megens*
Spain — Anni Espar
USA — Kaleigh Gilchrist | Stephania Haralabidis* | Paige Hauschild *^ | Amanda Longan*
Australia — Joel Dennerley | Blake Edwards* | Lachlan Edwards*
Greece — Kostas Genidounias
USA — Hannes Daube^* | Marko Vavic^*
USC WATER POLO IN TOKYO — BY THE NUMBERS:
USC's 6 total 2020 medalists will be the most since 2008 (7)
USC's 10 women competing in Tokyo is a program record
USC's 6 men competing in Tokyo is the most since 1956
13 have been members of NCAA Championship teams at USC
In all, USC's 2020 Olympians have 20 NCAA Championship rings among them
11 are first-time Olympians
4 are current USC student-athletes (Hauschild, Kearns, Daube, Vavic)
6 different nations will be represented by Trojans
4 were selected National Player of the Year as a Trojan
2 of the five repeat Olympians have already won medals (Espar & Gilchrist)
2 Trojans have parents who are also Olympians (Gilchrist & Megens)