Belden also posed with her USA Women's National teammates and they appeared on one of six covers. She stood at the end of the line of naked women, holding a ball below her belly.
She's also featured in the inside pages, an eye-catcher that's under water.
She said she hasn't received any negative comments. She had support from her family to do the photos.
"I think it's great," Belden said of the photos. "I think it's great for women's water polo. It's great for our exposure. Having 2012 coming up, I feel that water polo is becoming popular. This can be awesome for our sport."
Belden, also a former UCLA standout, helped the U.S. women's water polo team to the gold medal in the FINA World Cup in August. She scored seven goals in five games.
Since then she's been back at home in Newport Beach. Monday she's leaving for New York.
She'll be at a launch party for the Body Issue Tuesday at Skylight SoHo near Manhattan.
"When I first thought about the shoot, I thought it was more like athletes seen as sex symbols," Belden, 23, said. "It doesn't have anything to do with being a sex symbol. It's more about looking at the athlete's body. I see it more in an artistic way."
Belden plans to continue training upon her return from New York. Full-time training won't begin until January, she said.
She remains excited for the future, but she knows she has quite the memento for the summer of 2010, when she posed nude.
"It will probably be on the coffee table for a while," she said of the Body Issue. "I don't know where it will go, but it will go somewhere safe."