Danville’s Steffens Leads Women’s Water Polo Gold Medal Victory; Swimmer Takes Olympic Silver

Maggie Steffens of Danville scored five goals as Bay Area swimmers led the U.S. women’s water polo team to a gold medal against Spain on Thursday.

Heather Petri, an Oakland native living in Orinda, and Melissa Seidemann of Walnut Creek each scored goals as the United States beat Spain eight to five in the final. Brenda Villa of Los Angeles scored the other U.S. goal.

The U.S. dominated most of the match, but had to fight back a surge from Spain at the end.

The team also included University of California graduate Elsie Windes; Annika Dries, a Stanford alumna; and Maggie’s sister Jessica Steffens a Danville resident who has attended Stanford. All the team members have lived in California.

Earlier on Thursday, another Northern California swimmer, Haley Anderson, had her moment of glory.

Growing up on the shores of California’s Folsom Lake, Anderson developed a passion for swimming in open water, according to OpenWaterSwimming.com. On Thursday she put that passion to use, surging over the last 1,000 meters of a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race to grab a silver medal in the new Olympic sport of open water swimming.

The sport just came to the Olympics in 2008, an this is the first medal won by a US athlete in it. But Anderson wasn’t waiting around for this opportunity, the New York Times reports, in the spring, she won the 500-yard freestyle at the N.C.A.A. Division I championships.

And her older sister, Alyssa, 21, has won a gold medal as a member of the United States 4×200 freestyle relay.

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