Reclaiming Fitspo: Brenda Villa
Villa is an American water polo player. Standing at 5’4” and 174 pounds, she is the shortest member of the US women’s polo team.
Born in Los Angeles, she is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She first joined a water polo team at 8 years old, following in the footsteps of her older brother. However, since her high school did not have a girls’ team, she spent those four years on the boys’ water polo team instead. This helped her to establish a competitive attitude that contributed to her becoming a 4-time 1st team All-League member, 4-time 1st team All-C.I.F. and a 4-time All-American. She was even invited onto the Junior Olympic Team when she was 16.
While Villa attended Stanford University, she played three seasons on their polo team. In her freshman year alone (2001), she scored 69 goals and was named the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Player of the Year. In 2002 she led her team with 60 goals to win the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship. She was then awarded the 2002 Peter J. Cutino Award as the top female college water polo player in the United States. She graduated in 2003 with a degree in political science.
Villa joined Team USA in 1998. This means that she has participated in four Olympic Games (earning one Bronze medal, two Silver and one Gold), often scoring the most goals per game for her team. She was even made team captain of the 2005 US national team, winning a silver medal at the FINA World Championship in Montreal. When considering multiple World Championships, Pan American Games and World Cups, Villa is officially the world’s most decorated athlete in women’s water polo.
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