After a 15-year career, water polo legend Krystina Alogbo has announced her retirement from the Canadian women's national team.
Alogbo was emotional when giving the news to her teammates at national team training camp last week, but felt the timing was right.
She will continue to play professionally with CSS Verona in Italy, where she will also coach the under-16 and under-18 teams.
"It's a huge decision for me. Water polo has been my priority for over 25 years, and it still is," Alogbo said in a statement from Water Polo Canada. "The last year has been tough physically and mentally. I've thought a lot about it over the past few months, and I really think it's the right decision."
She acknowledged that at age 34 she still has a few good years left of playing, but the opportunity to transition toward coaching was too much to pass up.
Alogbo's name has been synonymous with water polo in this country since her MVP performance at the 2003 FINA world junior championships, where Canada won gold.
At 19, Alogbo debuted with the senior national team where she went on to be one of the longest serving players as well as a former captain.
Just last summer in Lima, Peru, Alogbo won her fourth straight silver medal at the Pan American Games. With it, the Canadian team locked up a berth at the Olympics for the first time since 2004. The postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics would have been the first for Alogbo.
Along with the world junior title and Pan Am medals, Alogbo also has silver medals from the 2009 and 2017 World League Super Final and the 2009 FINA world championships, where she was named MVP, as well as a bronze from the 2005 FINA worlds at home in Montreal.
Her teammates past and present had nothing but praise for Alogbo.
"When I saw Krys play the first time, I said I was not going to retire until I got the opportunity to play with her. Her understanding and vision of the game make her one of the best," said Cora Campbell, a national team assistant coach and former teammate.
Out of the pool, Alogbo has been a leader in advocating for inclusion and diversity, particularly with the LGBTQ+ community.
"She is a true inspiration and a real example of dedication; her impact on the Canadian water polo community goes well beyond statistics and results and her advocacy work has made her a leader in and out of the pool," said Martin Goulet, Water Polo Canada's Executive Director.
Though she's retiring from representing her country, Alogbo is getting ready to go back to Italy to resume her professional career and training to become a coach.
"I am at peace with my decision," Alogbo said. "Even though I didn't get to go to the Olympics, it is time I passed the torch."