Even before making her collegiate debut in the pool for Stanford, freshman water polo player Maggie Steffens cleaned up a major national award on Friday as the Olympic gold medalist for Team USA was named Best Female Water Polo Player of 2012 by the Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA).
Steffens was the youngest member of the United States’ team but had an immediate impact at the London Games, tying an Olympic record with seven goals in the first match of the tournament against Hungary. She finished the Games with 21 goals on 27 shots and netted five times in the Americans’ 8-5 win in the championship.
It was the first gold for Team USA at the Olympics in four tries, but the third championship Steffens has been a part of on the international scene, having played in the 2012 FINA World Super League Final and 2011 Pan-Am Games with her sister Jessica, who graduated in 2010.
The younger Steffens, a Danville, Calif. native who deferred her first year at Stanford in 2011-12 to train for the Olympics, will make her debut on The Farm Jan. 25 as the Cardinal takes on Michigan at 2 p.m. Stanford is the two-time defending national champion.