Maureen O'Toole is considered the greatest female water polo player of all time.
Growing up, she was a good swimmer and started playing water polo when she was 13 or 14. She was playing in the off season of swimming. She was 15 when she joined the national water polo team.
When she was in high school, she played on the boys' team. She also played for the Long Beach City College menís national team. "It was a great experience," she has said. She went to the University of Hawaii on a swimming scholarship.
Maureen played on the national team from 1977 to the 1991 World Championships and then stopped playing for a while to have her daughter. She returned to the game for a while but retired again because, "I didn't think female water polo was going to be an Olympic sport after it wasn't added to the '96 Olympics."
Maureen retired, thinking water polo would never be in the Olympics. It will first be in the Sydney Olympics in the year 2000. Maureen came back to the sport for the world championships in 1998, right after she learned that the sport had been approved as a medal sport for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.