[REAL VERSION] London 2012

REAL VERSION

Full coverage on NBC through August 12

Olympic Profile: Kelly Rulon, U.S. Women's Water Polo

Point Loma athlete helps explain why our region is a hotbed for talented players

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Kelly Rulon, of Point Loma, was named to the U.S. Women's Water Polo team for the 2012 London Olympics. A graduate of University of San Diego HS, now known as Cathedral Catholic High School.

    One of the team sports with a hefty dose of Southern California athletes is water polo.

    The sport is Kelly Rulon's ticket around the world.

    The graduate of Uni high school (now known as Cathedral) didn't have to travel far to find elite competition.

    The Point Loma resident grew up in what some would consider the water polo capitol of the world.

    "Obviously Southern California is probably the most competitive area in the country in regards to water polo," Rulon said while talking with NBC 7 before leaving for the Olympic Summer Games.

    More than half the U.S. Women's Waterpolo team grew up south of Santa Barbara. All but two are from California.

    Naturally, our weather is a huge reason.

    Kelly Rulon grew up swimming year round and when she took up water polo as a 13 year old, she'd already logged countless hours in the pool and ocean.

    WHEN TO WATCH: U.S. Women will play Hungary in a preliminary-round match on July 30 at 1:40 to 2:40 p.m. PT on NBC 7.

    But, like sunshine and water, Rulon says great players and coaches also go hand in hand.

    "There are a lot of really successful coaches in this area,” she said. “Some of the best coaches in the country come from Southern California."

    Her former college coach, now the national coach Adam Krikorian calls it a lifestyle.

    "We're all very intense competitors, but also very laid back,” Krikorian said. “Being here in Southern California, many people say it's a laid back atmosphere."

    Rulon, who went to UCLA where she broke the collegiate scoring record, played on the 2004 bronze medal team in Athens.

    After sitting out the 2008 games, she's now back on the national squad as a driver and one of the team's best passers.

    "I just think I've matured a lot and I'll be able to appreciate it a lot more."

    There could be much to appreciate as the U.S. women are among the favorites for gold in London.

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