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Maggie Steffens on 'Connection' Water Polo Team Has Made with 'Welcoming' Japanese Locals During Games

·1-min read

Maggie Steffens/Instagram Maggie Steffens

The U.S. women's water polo team has made fast friends since touching down in Japan.

Team captain Maggie Steffens told PEOPLE while talking with reporters last weekend after a match at the Tokyo Olympics that she's appreciated how "welcoming" and "selfless" the Japanese people have been.

"The volunteers that we've been able to interact with have been pretty amazing," Steffens, 28, said. "For us, it shows that this is much bigger than just our team and just our country. This Olympics is about the world and bringing that sense of world peace."

RELATED: Water Polo Olympians on How the Sport Is an 'Empowering Space' for Women: It's 'All About Family'

She also said that during the team's training camp in Chiba ahead of the Games start, they got to know the volunteers there so well, they began "cheering a little bit for us, I think."

Maggie Steffens water polo
Maggie Steffens water polo

Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Getty Images Maggie Steffens

"We kind of created a connection with them," said Steffen, "and you can sense that in the village and at the pool, all the volunteers are just so welcoming, so selfless and that's kinda what the Olympics is all about."

RELATED: U.S. Women's Water Polo Olympian Maggie Steffens Says Unity Has Propelled Team 'Through a Lot'

The team fell for the first time this Games to Hungry, 10-9, on Wednesday. Their final match in group play will be Friday against the Russian Olympic Committee.

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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