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The two additions likely represent the final members of the 2012 London Olympic athletes with Sun Devils ties, bringing the final tally to 18.
This will be the second Olympiad for Gao, who just finished her freshman campaign at Arizona State. Gao competed for her host nation at the 2008 Beijing Games and helped guide the team to a fifth-place finish. Gao’s performance was so exceptional that she was named as one of the All-Stars of the tournament.
Despite only competing half of the opening season as a Sun Devil, Gao was a difference-maker in the pool. Gao posted 21 goals in 19 appearances on the season, and her 1.11 goals per contest were 23rd in the MPSF on the year. Gao will be just the second current student-athlete behind Canadian diver Riley McCormick to represent ASU at the Olympics.
Keszthelyi has yet to hit the pool for a game in a Sun Devil uniform, but her performance on the international scene should have fans excited for a prospect. The incoming freshman for the 2013 season was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2011 Junior World Championships in Italy.
Keszthelyi’s squad came just short of winning the world title in an 11-9 decision against Spain. Even so, Keszthelyi was named the Player of the Tournament after notching 13 goals in the tournament, one of which was the deciding goal in an overtime victory against Russia that sent the team to the finals. The final goal was part of a four-goal effort from the youngster in that particular game.
Despite signing in spring of 2011, Keszthelyi remained in Hungary through the 2012 season to train with the Hungarian National Team in preparation for this year’s Olympics.
“I am so proud of the Sun Devil Water Polo players that will be representing their countries at the upcoming Olympic Games,” head coach Tood Clapper said. “It is also a very proud moment for the ASU water polo program that we have one past, one present and one future player in the Olympic Games. We will be cheering loud for our Sun Devils.”
Gao and Keszthelyi join Australia’s Rowie Webster to give the Sun Devils three competitors at the 2012 Olympic Games. While Gao competed in 2008, she was no where near signing with ASU at the time and thus, the 2012 season marks the first season for a Sun Devil water polo player at the Olympics.
The water polo tournament at the Olympic Games is set to begin July 30.