The Stanford women's water polo team will represent the United States at the 2015 World University Games, July 3-14, in in Gwangju, South Korea, Stanford officials announced Friday.
"It is an honor and a privilege for Stanford to represent the United States at the World University Games," Cardinal head coach John Tanner said. "It provides our team a unique opportunity to compete against some of the best in the world, but more importantly to form relationships and bonds with their peers around the globe. We're proud to be able to represent the U.S. and Stanford in such a setting."
The World University Games, or Universiade, is an international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). Held every two years in cities around the globe, the Universiade incorporates both educational and cultural aspects into 12 days of sports competitions and features more than 9,000 student-athletes and officials from over 170 countries.
A little over two weeks ago the team draw was held and the Cardinal was placed in Pool B along with Hungary, Italy, Australia and France. Russia, Canada, China, Japan and Serbia make up Pool A.
This will be the fourth time the women's tournament has been played at the World University Games after being introduced in Belgrade in 2009. In 2011, a USA select team which included Cardinal alumnae Amber Oland, Pallavi Menon and Alyssa Lo along with Stanford associate head coach Susan Ortwein on staff claimed silver. Tanner was also an assistant coach on the 1995 men's squad for the World University Games in Fukuoka, Japan.
The U.S. won a total of 40 medals at the most recent 2013 Kazan Summer Games, finishing sixth in the world. Many now-famous athletes have represented the United States in previous WUG competitions prior to gaining stardom in the Olympics and professional sports. These include such elite athletes as Michael Johnson (track), Charles Barkley and Larry Bird (men's basketball), Matt Biondi and Michael Phelps (swimming), and Lisa Leslie (women's basketball).
One of the country's most successful collegiate water polo programs, Stanford has claimed three of the past four national championships (2011, 2012, 2014) and will be going for its fifth overall when it hosts the 2015 National Collegiate Championship at Avery Aquatic Center next weekend. Stanford, the only school to appear at all 15 NCAA Championships since its inception in 2001, has appeared in the title game every year since 2010 and accumulated a record of 156-12 (.929) over that span.
The Cardinal will begin its quest for another collegiate national championship on Friday, May 8 at noon against the winner of Princeton (29-3) and Wagner (25-8). Those two teams will meet at Princeton this Saturday. Stanford is hosting the National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championship for the third time and looking to break a streak that has yet to see a host win the NCAA Championship since the tournament began in 2001.