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

"It's all about the circle, it's all about the team and knowing at the end of the day all of our hands are in," Maggie Steffens tells PEOPLE

Maggie Steffens says that the U.S.A. women's water polo team has adopted a mentality of unity that pushes them through challenging moments ahead of the start of competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

"We have a few mantras that have allowed us to propel through a lot," Steffens tells PEOPLE at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday. "One ... is 'stronger together,' which is a Team USA slogan as well."

Continues the 28-year-old, "Alone there are a lot of things you can't do, but together the impossible seems possible. It's all about the circle, it's all about the team and knowing at the end of the day all of our hands are in."

The water polo team will take on Japan on Saturday in their first match, and Steffens says the women are more than ready.

Maggie Steffens
Maggie Steffens. Harry How/Getty

"We've never been to an Olympic Games, this is our first Olympic Games [as a team]," Steffens told reporters Friday. "The first-ever, five-year quad, the first-ever Olympics through a pandemic. As much as there's that pressure from what this program has done in the past … the best way to handle pressure is to love it … to make the most of it."

Ahead of Friday's press conference, Steffens shared a picture on Instagram of her room in the Olympic Village in Tokyo, displaying a photo wall she created to bring a little of home into the space.

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"To be honest, that is nothing new: that hanging pictures up of family, friends, maybe memories that have inspired me and our team, hikes our team has been on ... pictures that remind me of the journey of how we got here," Steffens said to reporters, adding, "What that wall is similar to ... is really a wall of gratitude. It allows me to look at that every morning and every night and think about all the people that have helped me and helped our team get to this stage in our lives."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23rd and the Tokyo Paralympics beginning August 24th on NBC.

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