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Laguna's Dries will compete at Olympic Games in London

Former girls' water polo standout is one of 13 athletes named to U.S. women's water polo team.

May 24, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
  • Laguna Beach High graduate Annika Dries has been selected to the 2012 U.S. Olympics women’s water polo team. The team will compete at the Summer Olympics in London. Opening ceremonies are July 27.
Laguna Beach High graduate Annika Dries has been selected… (Courtesy Michael…)

No amount of preparation could ready Annika Dries for the announcement.

On May 17, the former Laguna Beach High girls' water polo standout realized a lifelong dream when she was one of 13 athletes named to the USA Olympic women's water polo team that will compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

"Normally, I am prepared. I have something to say or do or think," the 20-year-old said. "But the moment my coach (Adam Krikorian) told me I was an Olympian, I was speechless and filled with pure joy. I have worked and dreamed a long time about becoming an Olympian."

The whirlwind then began.

"I called my mom (Pam) first, and she was so ecstatic and proud," she said. "My dad (Eric) is a more quiet guy, but I know this really means a lot to him. He has always believed in me."

After the announcement at a press conference at the LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles, the team headed to Burbank to make an appearance on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

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"We were announced as part of the show and got a shout out on national TV! Pretty fun," she said of the show's taping that included taking photos afterward with Leno and that show's guests, actor Hugh Laurie and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.

Dries — who helped the Breakers win a CIF title in water polo in 2009 and is the girls' record-holder in the 50-yard freestyle in swimming — has been readying herself for this moment for several years. She competed on the Cadet, Youth and Junior National teams throughout middle school and high school and eventually trained with the U.S. Women's Senior "B" team in 2008. She joined the Senior Women's team in 2009.

She is the first athlete from Laguna Beach High to make the USA Olympic women's water polo team.

Dries entered Stanford University after graduating from Laguna Beach and has completed two years of studies. She said she took a sabbatical from school to concentrate on training for the Olympic team. Majoring in Human Biology with an area of concentration in cancer biology and epidemiology, Dries will resume her studies this fall. She said she has two years of playing eligibility remaining and will graduate in 2014.

Last year, she led Stanford to the NCAA women's water polo championship in Ann Arbor, Mich. Dries was named tournament MVP and was the recipient of the Peter Cutino Player of the Year award. The Cardinal repeated as NCAA champions by winning the tournament earlier this month.

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