Brenda Villa (USA) - The taste for gold
Her resume happens to break the traditional one page rule, but that is what happens when you have played in three Olympic Games, and concluding this past August in Rome, Italy, six FINA World Championships. She is Brenda Villa of USA Water Polo and these latest World Championships were just another for Villa where she ended up wearing the Gold.
Anyone that has followed women’s water polo over the last decade knows Brenda Villa all too well. The Stanford grad from the largely Hispanic community of Commerce, California grew up playing with the boys, and hit the National Team scene exactly at the right time. Coming on board in the late 90s, Villa was able to step into a new world for the sport that saw inclusion in the Olympic Games and an increased presence in women’s university action.
A 113 year long success story
The history of Hungarian swimming has been a story of excellence since the beginning of the modern sporting era. The winner of the first Olympic gold medal, in 1896, at Athens, was in fact a Hungarian - Alfred Hajos, in the 100 metres freestyle. He won also a second gold medal over the distance of 1200 metres, and went home with two of the three gold medals at stake. Later, Hajos became an architect and designed Budapest's finest competitive swimming pools, in which Hungary trained its next great champions.
Tom Daley (GBR) - Prince of the Platform
At the age of 15, Thomas “Tom” Daley (GBR) is the reigning World and European champion in the 10m platform and his potential appears to be limitless. Senior national champion by the age of 13, the “buzz” behind Daley’s success has thus far been related to his youth – a warranted storyline considering his victory in Rome made him the second-youngest world diving champion ever, and that he was the second-youngest British Olympian ever when he competed in Beijing at age 14 (and the youngest on the 2008 British team), and that he is the youngest ever continental champion (etc., etc.). But Daley is no longer a boy. He is growing rapidly and under close scrutiny of nutritionists, psychologists, coaches and his parents to ensure his training is adjusted to suit his body development in a way that can provide maximum competitive benefits. His success-in-youth is no longer the focus; his sheer talent, mental fortitude, and whether he will continue to win as an adult is now the main subject.
Swimming all the rage, thanks to suit flap
Source: USA Today, Updated by Mike Lopresti, Gannett
Somewhere out there, boxing and hockey and horse racing and every other sport craving more notice must be turning aquamarine with envy. There's a new master when it comes to attracting attention to itself.
We give you … swimming?
Portrait of a Master: Rolf Luedecke (GER)
As a player since 1962 and a referee since 1977, Mr. Luedecke is passionate and well-rounded water polo enthusiast. Throughout his life he played water polo at what he calls a “medium level”. Early on he participated in the German Youth Championships before playing Division 1 (Bundesliga) and then Masters competitions on a friendly level.
In 1999, his club team “Poseidon Hamburg” was looking for a new challenge besides their Hamburg-based activities and decided to participate for the first time in the German Masters Championships. “We were successful and finished as German Champions in the age group 50+. Nearly all players on the team had played together for over 30 years. Thereon we played the German Championships every year”.
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