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article imageMeet Maggie Steffens: Olympic gold medalist, water polo star Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 12, 2018 in Sports
American water polo star Maggie Steffens chatted with Digital Journal. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion in the sport.
On winning two Olympic gold medals, Steffens said, "That felt pretty darn good. It's a feeling that never goes away, and while you are training, it's something that fuels your fire."
The greatest part of the Olympic experience was hearing the national anthem played in honor of Team USA for their water polo win. "That is one of the best feelings in the Olympic Games. It reminds you of who you are playing for, and your values. It's bigger than yourself and your team. It's for your entire country. Our goal is to be our best, and play our best, and hopefully that means winning the gold. You get to breathe in that American pride. It was a pretty amazing moment," she said.
On her plans for the rest of 2018, Steffens said, "We are training in Southern California at our training base. We are home, training every day. We fully commit to our training. Then, we will go to World Cup in the beginning of September, and that's in Russia. That will be the end of our summer, and after that, I will finish my Master's degree in Stanford University."
Steffens noted that before she gets into the water, it is very important to do warm-ups. "We do dryland stretching. We spend a lot of time in the weight room, and we focus on strengthening even the smallest of muscles, in addition to injury prevention," she said.
She shared that in the distant future she would consider coaching water polo. "I am open to the idea. Coaching is a great way to keep our sport growing, and to inspire our youth. I love to do camps and clinics, where I hope to inspire kids, like I was inspired when I was younger," she explained.
Steffens is a firm believer that water polo is one of the toughest sports out there. "I love it so much. I have been playing it for 17 years now, and I am still learning so much. It is a difficult sport and it's a very intellectual sport. Your mental game, your physical game and your emotional game is always changing. No matter how long you have been playing it, there is still so much to learn, which makes it so exciting," she elaborated.
For aspiring water polo players, Steffens said, "Dream big, and don't be afraid to dream big. Believe in that. Also, enjoy the sport. Water polo is a fun sport, and it allows you to meet amazing people. Really enjoy your team and your team-mates, and make the most out of the opportunity to be a part of something so special."
The water polo champion defined the word success as "When you truly enjoy what you are doing." "One of the keys to life is enjoying life, and obviously, there is going to be struggles and hardships, but that's what makes life fun. The challenges and enjoying the challenges. That's the route of success: going through the hardest journey and enjoying it," she said.
Digital transformation of water polo
On the impact of technology in the aquatic world, Steffens said, "I think the technology in the aquatic world has even more potential than what we have seen right now. Something that water polo is missing is a lot of that data information and technology that can help promote the sport, and also make it easier to understand for the audience. There are training tools and data analytics that can be used during games. I am really looking forward to seeing how we can utilize technology to help grow our sport. Obviously, I am very passionate about water polo, and I think more people would love it if they were exposed to it. One of my goals is to utilize that technology and that data to help our sport grow, and to help individuals grow. At the end of the day, it's a team effort."
Steffens continued, "I am actually partnered with Tony Azevedo, who is a five-time Olympian, and created 6-8 Sports, and we are hoping to utilize data to help grow the sport of water polo. We want to help kids find their potential and hopefully, spread the sport of water polo, and help people reach their dreams."
To learn more about two-time Olympian Maggie Steffens, follow her on Twitter, and check out her Facebook page.
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