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Anae fulfills Olympic dream

Water Polo

Former Corona del Mar High and USC standout one of 13 selected for Team USA in women's water polo.

May 17, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Tumua Anae, a former Corona del Mar High standout, was named to the U.S. Olympic women’s water polo team.
Tumua Anae, a former Corona del Mar High standout, was… (Larsen & Talbert )

LOS ANGELES — As the U.S. Olympic women's water polo team was named Thursday, Coach Adam Krikorian read off the names in alphabetical order.

The first name was the former Corona del Mar High and USC standout, Tumua Anae. This led to a funny moment at the announcement at the LA84 Foundation.

"It was a little awkward," Anae said. "He kind of just looked at me. I wasn't sure of the formality of it, if we were supposed to hug or shake hands. But I'm all about the hugs."

It makes sense. Talk to Anae for a second and you realize the goalkeeper is also all about family. Her newest family is the Olympic one she officially joined Thursday, as she is one of 13 on the roster who will represent the United States at the London Olympics beginning in late July.

It is the first Olympic Games for Anae. And she said it's something she's dreamed about since she was 8, when she began swimming competitively.

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Though she played water polo in junior high, Anae was mostly a swimmer in those earlier years. She was dominant in the breaststroke and a member of CdM's 2004 and 2006 CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship swim teams. In high school, she didn't start playing water polo until her junior year, yet she was a starting keeper on CdM's 2006 Division 2 championship team as a senior. Four years later, she was the starting keeper on the 2010 national championship team at USC.

That's a lot of winning. But the dream she had as a little kid? Seven years after joining Coach Aaron Chaney's squad in 2005, that has become reality.

"I come from a really big sports family," said Anae, 23. "My grandpa would tell my dad [Allen], 'You're going to make an Olympics one day.' It turns out, his daughter is the one that's going to go. It's just a dream that you have when you start getting involved in athletics, especially in an aquatic sport. That's swimming and water polo's biggest stage, the Olympics."

Krikorian, the U.S. national team head coach, has been familiar with Anae. He used to coach against her as the head coach at UCLA. But, he said, getting to really know her has also been a pleasure.

Anae is a player who stays calm under pressure.

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