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Jamaican-American Has Historic Role in U.S. Water Polo

Ashleigh Johnson, Jamaica-American plays on US Water Polo team - Photo by  TeamUSA.org

Ashleigh Johnson, Jamaica-American plays on US Water Polo team – Photo by TeamUSA.org

When Donna Johnson, a native of Jamaica, decided that her children needed swimming lessons, little did she know she was setting them on a path to athletic stardom. Johnson made use of the swimming pool at her home to keep her children busy, requiring all of them to join the Riptides club at a pool near their elementary school in Cutler Ridge, Redlands, California. It turned out that all of her children had a natural talent for water polo, to which they were introduced by Carroll Vaughan, the coach at Riptides. Now, daughter Ashleigh Johnson, 20, will be the backup goalie and only African-American on the United States national water polo team competing in Kazan, Russia, at the world championships. She will be taking a year off from Princeton University, where she majors in psychology and is the starting goalkeeper for the university team. Her younger sister Chelsea also plays water polo for Princeton. On Ashleigh’s schedule for 2016? The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where she will be the first African-American woman in history to participate in water polo competitions at the Olympic level.

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