Stanford juniors Maggie Steffens and Bret Bonanni have been named among the six finalists for the FINA Women's and Men's Water Polo Athlete of the Year, it was announced Tuesday.
Steffens is joined on the ballot by Kami Craig (USA), Maica Garcia (Spain), Giulia Gorlero (Italy), Rita Keszthelyi (Hungary), and Rowie Webster (Australia). Bonanni is joined on the ballot by Filip Filipovic (Serbia), Dusan Mandic (Serbia), Gojko Pijetlovic (Serbia), Daniel Varga (Hungary) and Denes Varga (Hungary).
Awarded by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) and FINA Aquatics World Magazine, voting is carried out by FINA member federations and everyone who holds a FINA position. The winner is slated to receive the award at a special ceremony in Doha, Qatar ahead of the World Swimming Championships (25m) set to start December 3.
Steffens has the unique opportunity to be the first two-time winner of the award, which was inaugurated in 2010. She was also named the FINA Women's Water Polo Athlete of the Year in 2012 before making her collegiate debut with the Cardinal.
The science, technology and society major delivered 12 goals helping Team USA earn a second consecutive FINA World Cup crown in 2014. She was second on the team in scoring with 11 goals in a gold medal effort at the 2014 FINA World League Super Final.
Steffens earned Olympic MVP honors and led all players with 21 goals as the U.S. captured gold at the 2012 London Games. She scored five goals in that Olympic Final against Spain and matched the Olympic record with seven goals in the tournament-opening U.S. win over Hungary.
This past May, Steffens helped Stanford capture its third NCAA title in four years and fourth overall. She provided one of the main punches for the Cardinal offense, sharing the team scoring crown with Kiley Neushul (51 goals). Steffens tallied six hat tricks to power an offense that averaged 13.31 goals per game and earned her second consecutive ACWPC All-America First Team nod.
Bonanni represented his country as part of the USA Men's Senior National Team during the summer of 2014 at the FINA Intercontinental Qualification Tournament, the four-game series with Serbia in Northern California (June 4-8), the FINA World League Super Final and the FINA World Cup. He was named to the All-Tournament Team at the FINA World Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan (Aug. 19-24) after leading the U.S. to a fourth-place finish by scoring 13 total goals, including five against Serbia on the third day of the event
He scored seven times as the U.S. came in fifth at the FINA World League Super Final in Dubai (June 14-21) and also put in 13 goals as part of the USA's gold-medal winning effort at the FINA Intercontinental Qualification Tournament in Shanghai, China (May 26-31). Bonanni also played with the USA Men's Senior National Team at the Volvo Cup in Sznolnok, Hungary Feb. 7-9 and scored 10 total goals in games against Serbia, Germany and Hungary.
In two years on The Farm, Bonanni has already put himself among Stanford's all-time greats. As an ACWPC First Team All-American in 2013, the science, technology and society major set a school record with 97 goals. Early in his third season, Bonanni has 191 career scores for the Cardinal and will shortly become the sixth Stanford student-athlete to reach the 200-goal milestone. Current teammate Alex Bowen attained the mark against UCLA on Sunday joining Tony Azevedo (332; 2001-04), James Bergeson (235; 1979-82), Jody Campbell (211; 1978-81) and Wolf Wigo (203; 1991-94).
Bonanni is ahead of Azevedo's pace for the career record. Azevedo had 163 goals after his sophomore season and finished with a school-record 332. Bonanni had 170 coming into this year and his 97 goals in 2013 broke Azevedo's school record of 95 in 2002.