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Meet the Olympians: Merrill Moses

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Merrill Moses

“I remember in 2008 when the torch was lit, it was like a fire was lit inside of me and I knew it was go time,” remembers Merrill Moses (’99) of his first Olympic presence on the 2008 U.S. water polo team. “I can’t wait for that feeling again. It’s hard to describe, but it is all of your emotions and thoughts of all the hard work running through your body because you know you are about to perform on the biggest sports stage ever.”

The goalkeeper will go back to the biggest international competition following months of intense training at six hours a day, five days a week, and with a record of stopping over 65 percent of shots—36 saves—during the qualifying 2011 Pan American Games. Winning the Gold Medal in October was “very satisfying,” he says, in large part because Team USA was known as being the team to beat.

“Anytime you are a favored team, you must bring your best performance at every game because everyone wants to knock you out. So all of our hard work and preparation paid off and we remained focused in every game to qualify.”

It was this same focus that helped him lead Pepperdine to the NCAA Championship back in 1997 and, in 1998, earned him 1st Team All-Conference and 2nd Team All-American honors at Pepperdine. He was also named Pepperdine’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the 1997 NCAA Championships, an honor he says first helped him realize that he could play at the next level.

Fourteen years later, the California native has built a professional resume that includes tallying up the highest number of saves in the 2006 Premier League Division I, being named the MVP of the 2010 USA Water Polo Men’s National Championships with the New york Athletic Club, and playing for teams in Italy and Croatia following his Silver victory four years ago in Beijing. He led his teams—Sibenik, Croatia, and Nervi, Italy—to success and won the yellow Cap award for being the most consistent player in the Croatian league.

Moses has been practicing his “Cockney slang” in preparation for London and is just waiting for the opening ceremony to relight his determination to win and bring home Olympic glory with his team. “you learn to love and rely on your teammates, because in water polo if you don’t work as a team you will not get far,” he explains. “I love that family bond that me and my teammates have.”