We already know that U.S. water polo team captain Elizabeth Armstrong is a force to be reckoned with, but Team USA’s Brenda Villa, 32, also knows how to go for the gold.

Villa, who became interested in water polo from swimming when she was an eight-year-old tomboy and has “not looked back” since, sat down exclusively with Uinterview to talk about her secrets on the water. “I think it’s really important to visualize something before you do it, so that when you’re in the water you just rely on your instincts,” Villa said.

But instincts are only half of the game. Endurance in water polo is key. “Yes, we need to sprint up and down, but you’re also having somebody tug on you and having to shoot the ball,” Villa explained. “So, we do a lot of conditioning for endurance. We need to be able to go top speed for the whole game.”


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And that means intense training. “We go to ten practices a week, where three of those practices will be in the weight room going an hour-and-a-half of strength training, squats, lunges, dead lifts, pull ups. We’ve been doing a lot of running this year. And for people who are meant to be in the water, it adds a lot of stress to us, but it’s good for us. We do a lot of scrimmaging, a lot of swimming, a lot of conditioning,” Villa said of her routine.

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