Team USA Women's Water Polo Goalie Making Big Waves, In and Out of the Pool

Ashleigh Johnson is the starting goalie for Team USA's women's water polo team, and she's making big waves for the African-American community.

If the women's national team qualifies for the Olympics, Johnson will become the first African-American player to make the team.

"I feel like when I was younger it was less prevalent for a young African-American woman to be playing water polo, but now as I'm at this level I see a lot more young black girls playing and its really good to see other girls like me in the water and playing and having fun," said Johnson.

Her coach says the team's success starts with Johnson.

"When Ashleigh's on, I don't want to say we're impossible to beat but we're tough to beat," said Adam Krikorian, head coach of the women's national water polo team. "she's certainly one of the best, if not the best goalkeeper in the world."

"She does things I've just never seen a goalie do, " he said.

Johnson, 21, started playing water polo because it was offered at her neighborhood pool.

"I got into water polo because because there was a swim program behind my school and my mom got us enrolled in it, and water polo just came as part of the package," she said.

She grew up in Miami, the middle child in a family of five kids, she says her older brothers made her tough.

"Yeah, we played against each other. We played this game called five alive, where you are goalie and the field player and it was so fun," said Johnson. "I learned to shoot and I learned to block and it's just good getting faster-paced shots."

Johnson now attends Princeton. Her younger sister is a teammate.

Now Johnson is n the fast lane to stardom in the only sport she's ever known.

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"I don't want to be the main example of an African-American woman in this sport," said Johnson. "I think it should just become the norm."

And with the Rio Summer Olympics looming, Johnson keeps it all in perspective.

"Actually, right now, I'm envisioning going to our qualifier and working hard to win that but I think eventually I'll be envisioning a gold medal, hopefully," she said. "It would just be the biggest culmination of all my dreams and hopes."

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