Friday, February 5, 2016


As I once again comment on how it's been 6 months since I last posted anything...We'll ignore the pleasantries and simply move on with the content shall we?

As a Senior here at Lindenwood University, coming ever closer to graduating and moving on with life, and in an effort to let myself take some current events in stride, I've chosen to write this blog post on synchronicity. (Ironic since I'm a synchronized swimmer don't you think?)

A synchronicity for some is that moment in time when we suddenly and briefly connect to the path we currently walk in life. In the image above, Carl Jung is a swiss psychologist who proposed the idea that "when multiple, meaningful occurrences happen, it is not coincidence but a type of psychological and spiritual experience intended to guide your soul force into motion." It sounds very "hippie" or "crazy" but honestly, it makes sense. Life tends to push us in a general direction, although we don't always know what direction it is. It is up to us a human beings to make the decisions that shape our lives.

Synchronicity's are responsible for bringing people and events into our lives seemingly at just the right time. I guess you could call this "coincidence" but many do not believe in such a thing. Coincidences are only there in hind sight. Carl Jung believed that we are responsible for our own synchronicity. It's been said by many that our thoughts combined with physical action cause things to happen directly related to them.

But honestly, if you think something, it tends to happen...or you just worry about it happening and then something else happens because you were so focused on this other event. Life is an ongoing lesson, and not all synchronicity or coincidences are going to lead you where you consciously want to be. However, simply because you didn't THINK it was the path you's where you need to be.

Not all synchronicities are going to lead to a change that will transform your life. Often they are just a guide or like a warning bell to keep you on the right path and stop you from wandering into the abyss through a lack of focus. However, some are...and some you don't exactly enjoy the cause of your change in direction.

The bottom line here is, keep an eye out on a daily basis for even the tiniest of "coincidences" and know that what may seem insignificant at first glance could be a wonderful opportunity just waiting for you to take action. It could be the synchronicity that leads you to the place you’ve always wanted to be. So maybe dreams really do come true.

Even look out for the ones you don't want. The things that happen in life that seem dreadful, and awful...sometimes it's just time to change directions. It almost seems like the universe has decided that you've waited long enough to do it yourself, and has stepped in to smack you in the face and tell you to get off your couch and do something about it.

It kinda looks like I just wrote a paper...but that's what blogs are for right? Information? Emotion? Personal writing outlets for when you're frustrated and need to vent to the internet where your words will be saved forever in a cloud of internet bytes? 

Alright...well. I have a feeling I'll be doing more blog posts from here on. I've found writing helps sometimes. Here's to Senior Year. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Knoxing 101

So when did this 
Become this? 
(Photo of Ona Carbonell and Andrea Fuentes of Spain)

That yummy child's treat has been put into the hair of Elite Synchronized Swimmers everywhere. Lucky (maybe?) for us, it's not flavored. However there's different ways to get that shiny, helmet-like structure painted onto our heads. 

I've had some people ask how is it that I can get my Knox perfect every time? Well, my answer is that I'm still learning! However, I'm going to give yall a step by step Knoxing 101! 

Items needed - 
A fine toothed comb, 4 packets of Knox gelatin (or any unflavored jello) and a cup. 
Don't forget what you need to put your hair up! You'll also need a hair net, but I hadn't taken it out of its packaging yet. So it's not pictured here. 
Anyways! I love this brush. "The Wet Brush" may take a little longer to get through your hair, but it really is better for it. 

Step 1 - The Bun
You're going to need access to hot water. REALLY hot water. So if you have a hot pot or a kettle, plug that in and fill it about halfway with water! You won't need all of it, but sometimes it's easier. 

Let's start with a simple up do shall we? Get your hair wet and brush it into a tight pony tail. It should be at about eye level if you're wondering about placement. 

Run the fine tooth comb through your hair to smooth everything down after its up. There might be a slight bump all the way around where the hair tie is, but don't worry! This will be covered by the bun. 

Afterwards, we're going to take your hair into two pieces, and braid one side. Then  wrap it as tightly as possible around the other one. You should end up with a hair-do that looks similar to an I dream of Jeanie style. 
Clearly on a much smaller scale haha secure this braid down into the bun with hair pins in a triangle pattern. Pull the other piece apart and tighten the bun closer to your head. Then take the that bit and repeat the same braiding fun from earlier. Then we'll have a full bun! 
Now, I have very thin hair. So your bun will more than likely look different than mine. However it should look similar! 
Once again you're going to run the comb through your hair to pull everything back, and then wrap the hairnet around the bun. You should ideally not be able to see the hairnet at all when you're finished. The photo above has the hair net in! Wrap it as tightly as possible over the bun and pin again as needed. 

Step 2 - Making the Knox 
Pour the 4 packets of Knox into your cup, and pour some of the water in. Now this is the hard part, so I'll do my best to explain. 

Add just enough water so that when you stir it, the powder melts. I would mix it with the pointed end of a rat tailed comb, but really anything is fine. Add small amounts of water to the mixture until you get a consistency similar but clearly thinner than honey. 

It'll probably look like this. Set the cup aside for a few moments. We're going to take the bubbles off the top! I normally do my bun during this time, but I've also learned to do this very quickly. I wouldn't suggest it for beginners. 

A few minutes later you should be able to take a spoon, or the end of the comb, and scoop the bubbles that have risen to the surface off the top of the Knox. 

Cool right? Try to get as much of this out as you can. I was taught this by some Spanish teammates of mine. They use a different type of Knox than we do, but it's still the same idea! You should end up with something similar to this: 

Semi gross right? Yeah. It won't smell the best either. Unfortunately I have yet to find a way around that. 

Step 3 - The Knoxing Process 
Alright! Now for the fun part...sorta. Knoxing doesn't only keep synchronized swimmers hair out of their face, it actually conditions and strengthens your hair! While I wouldn't suggest it for a weekly hair mask, it is another secret as to how girls who spend all day every day in the water can still have pretty hair. 

Anyways! Comb the Knox through your hair. Basically all your trying to do is make sure that the Knox gets into ALL of your hair. It also is tightening the hair to your bun so that it doesn't move while you're swimming. 

You hair should look wet at the end of this first stage. It dries very quickly so after going all around the head, you can do the second round! Turn the comb over and PUSH more Knox into your head this time. Don't make it hurt, but focus more on pushing it into your scalp that making it look pretty. 

Looking good! Alright. Now for the last step. By this point your Knox in the cup is going to have cooled to true honey consistency. You can use the flat side of the comb, or a paint brush for this part. Some even just use their hands (not my personal favorite...) 

What you're going to do is LAY the Knox on top. Very lightly smooth a layer of Knox over your head. It will come out as shiny and looking a little thicker than the rest of the Knox you've been using. 

Do that ALL the way around your head. And you're done! I can do all of this in about 30minutes. This takes practice, so don't expect perfection on the first round! Use a hair drier to dry the Knox if you need, but it will dry quickly on its own. 
Congratulations! You've officially knocked your hair like an Olympian. this Olympian. 

Some of my friends thinks it's a good idea to make a YouTube channel and start giving tips...thoughts? 


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Team Free Prelims & Solo Finals!

Days 4 and 5 of Worlds seem like the shortest and yet longest days of the competition so far. 

Free team had really good energy. We were number 5 in the draw (which is my personal fav number) and we were really focused on bringing that American Spirit to the stage. Our lifts were probably the best we've had in a swim through yet, so we were pretty proud of that. 

We aren't going into finals with the placement we wanted, but sometimes you can't focus on the placement. You can't control the score, but you can control how YOU feel about your swim. Once we all decide that's what matters we'll all be better athletes for it. Can't wait to see what is in store for us for Finals on Friday! 

Day 5 was only the Free Solo Finals, and being at 5:30pm instead of 9am meant I got to sleep in, eat a little later, and be SUPER pumped for my finals swim. I'm only ever nervous before solo swims, but this time I was more excited than anything. This routine has a personal meaning related to it, and I was determined to make the world see it as well. 

I went into finals in 8th, and I came out of finals in 8th! My coaches all said it was the best swim I've had, but it was more than that. I knew that it was my best swim. That exhausted but elated feeling after a competition swim is what we as athletes strive for. That feeling at the end of a routine where you KNOW you couldn't give anymore, you couldn't try any harder, and everything went exactly how it was supposed to go. 

It's not just me. It's everyone. Lori Eaton, my coach from Lindenwood (pictured above on the left) is here coaching a duet for Aruba, and she's the one who has brought my love of the sport back. I'm so glad she was here to see my finals performance! Tammy McGregor, my coach for this Summer (also seen above, on the right) brought the hammer down on some technical aspects, plus she even added more sass and difficulty to what I thought was an already exhausting routine. I'm so glad to have such enthusiasm from the deck. Not to mention the expertise and personal experiences each of these women have had and have been able to help me with along the way. 

Because of the support from Friends, Family, Coaches and Teammates, I had the best swim I could've asked for. And then some!!! 

Now it's time to keep the momentum I have going into free team finals on Friday. Wish us luck! GO USA!!! 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Worlds!!! Day 1, 2 and 3

What a rush. This whole summer has gone so quickly I feel like I haven't been able to stop and update anyone!!! So Worlds is in Full blown competition mode and we're gonna start from the beginning. Day one.

Tech solo was the first thing out of the gate, and I can honestly say it wasn't my best swim. The pool felt larger than normal, there were too many people, and a lot of pressure that I put on myself. I had a good swim, but it wasn't ME. It wasn't the kind of swim that made me proud. Luckily that was just prelims, and ranked 10th I was able to swim it again in finals. This proved to be a HUGE help, considering my score went up 2 points, and I was much more comfortable. I could perform. I could be me. Plus, my finals swim brought me up to 9th place!!! Every little bit helps. 

The event that sat between Tech Solo Prelims and Finals was the prelim tech team event. In case you can't find me, I'm in the middle. Haha This team has a Fosse personality within the choreography and we fight every day to bring back that American Pride and presentation the U.S. is known for. We're sitting in 10th during prelims with finals tonight! (See Day 3) 

Day 2 

Day one also included prelims for the Mixed Duet Technical competition, but more on that later. 

Mariya and Anita competed in the Tech Duet for prelims and finals, and ended 12th after some great swims. I think the team and I cheered loud enough for the entire stadium, but hopefully it was loud enough for them to hear us from the water! All you can do from the side is cheer, and cross your fingers, and jump up and down when people you've been around do something well. It must be exhausting to be a coach. (Sorry to all the coaches who landrill their swimmers routines on the side while they compete. I feel your pain now)

Also competing in the tech duet competition was Aruba. My Collegiate coach Lori Eaton coaches Kyra and my old trio/duet partner Anouk. Wow. Lindenwood is EVERYWHERE. I also fell back into college cheering and I can't explain the kind of looks I received while I was cheering for them. I don't think people knew a person's voice could carry so far. I knew I was loud 😅

The routines that took the day was the Mixed Duet event. Bill May and Christina Jones were ranked in 2nd behind Russia going into finals, but it was a fight to the end. All goes to show its worth the hard work and the effort that is put into every day. They won GOLD!!! The first Mixed Duet event at an international level, and we were there to witness our national anthem be played and a gold medal given to US athletes. Such a special moment that pictures can never explain enough. 

Day 3 

So today we started with Free Solo, and after such an AMAZING showing last night, I was pumped. Not only did I still have a goal in mind, but I had the energy of a U.S. GOLD MEDAL from the day before. So proud to be the next routine following such a performance. I brought back my "Feelin' Good" routine from 2 years ago with some changes, and let me tell much better. It's hard, but it's something that speaks not only as a routine, but as something personal. "It's a new Dawn, it's a new day..." All you have to do is listen. Right now I'm in 8th! I'm excited and still aiming for my original goal. I can do this. Let's go. 

Then it was on to Tech Team Finals. We were all feeling ready before we walked out. We had the first draw, so we knew we had to go out and show off. While we didn't have the greatest swim, we had the best energy overall. We stayed in 10th place and personally, I'm ready to move on to the Free Event!! 

Hopefully I can update a little more often, with some of my own pictures. We don't always have access to our phones when were competing (I mean the iPhone isn't waterproof unfortunately...) but I'll do my best! 

Wish me luck moving forward! Go USA! (And Egypt, and Aruba, and Indonesia! Cause that's the LINDENWOOD representatives here at worlds!!!)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Malta Training

Can it get better than that?! I told you I would get another post today!!! 

Anyways, if it was possible to put a white sand beach on that view, then we'd be talking. That and I would probably never leave. Sorry America, from what I've seen, Malta has you beat when it comes to water based views. 

I've never seen water so blue. Minus the humidity, the weather is gorgeous everyday. Although being a Texan helps me out with the humidity point. I absolutely love how this place makes me feel. It's almost like I was a mermaid at some point, and I'm visiting home. 

However! Training is coming to a close here with only one day left, and as heart breaking it is that I'm getting SUPER pumped for Kazan! 

Our team did an exhibition with the Maltese team, and even took a picture with a few of them! It reminds me how much I love synchro, and why I started it in the first place. It's all for that little girl that wanted to play to the music and fell in love with the water. I can't wait to show everyone what I've got once we get to Kazan. 

This is a throw back picture, but I'm using it as a reminder of how I need to feel when swimming. Past Russian Junior National Team member, and now my Lindenwood duet partner, Vasilisa Mironova, is an inspiration in more ways than she knows. From being Collegiate National Champions, to US National Champions, she's taught me a lot. Now, I swim my Tech Solo at Worlds in Russia to the music she was planning to use as her Free Solo. Super excited!!! 

Signing off with a beautiful sunset from Malta. I'll be heading to Kazan, Russia, and I'll try to get another post going! 


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pan Ams Recap and Malta Preview

Hard to believe Pan Ams has come and gone. I tried to post this while we were there, but I guess it gets to be lumped in with Malta now. Prepare for pictures! 

Anyways, as with last Pan Ams in Guadelajara, the village is amazing. I felt like a small child sitting in some of these chairs. I felt like a little fish in a VERY big pond. With all the experiences of international meets, pan Ams has to be one of the most fun. It's like a mini Olympics just with less countries. As expected the cafeteria had good food, we had access to a game room, the US gave us some AWESOME Nike gear...

That's what matters right? Hahahahahaha okay but in all seriousness. The village was great. There are athletes walking around with the same goals as everyone else. To be the best athlete they can be. It's inspiring and intimidating all at the same time to be around athletes who have been to the Olympics anywhere from 3 to 5 times! (As in the case of the Flag Bearer, 5 time Olympic Medalist Kim Rhode: 

Yes that's a screen shot from my phone. Oh well! Our first competition day was fun. I've always loved competitions and the adrenaline you get before you compete. It was a little weird competing in only the team event, as I was a part of the Silver Medal Duet and Team in the 2011 Pan Am Games with Mariya, so I was expecting to have that extra kick of nervousness of performing twice. 

I took a panoramic picture of the pool when our team was introduced to the U.S. Ambassador before our technical team routine swim. He said that Synchronized Swimming was the first sporting event they had attended at this Pan American Games which says a lot. Synchro sometimes can be passed over, so it was nice to hear that they enjoyed it.
We had great swims in all our routines. The Tech duet had a great showing, and the Tech Team did one of our Highest lifts yet! 

Unfortunately it's hard to see how high that picture where Anita, our Flyer, is compared to the water, but believe me...the instant replay looked AMAZING. 

The free routines we didn't get a chance to take pictures for, as that was swim RIGHT before awards. So instead, you get a medal stand photo: 

Bronze baby! And no, those little mascots aren't dogs. They're porcupines! All in all it was a great beginning to what is to come...Worlds. And while this is where I would normally end a blog post
But I'll post the rest tomorrow. JUST to keep everyone in suspense! 

Here's a teaser just to make sure everyone comes back: 

Yep. That's the view from our hotel (courtesy of Tammy's photo taking skills) There's more! Just you wait. See yall tomorrow! 


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lessons Learned

As I said, three days later I would update! Kinda nice having a day to be able to take to myself and be able to reflect on the happenings of the last few days.

It's been a whirl-wind since our Team's Exhibition here in Riverside. To those of you who showed up, THANK YOU! We couldn't directly ask anyone to take off their own personal time to come watch Synchro, but we're thankful for those that did! With this being our second day off, I've come to enjoy the three days on, one day off. It almost gives me a way to really push hard for three straight days, and have a bit of time to recover and refuel.

Now if only I could refuel options can be really hard to deal with as a hungry athlete craving nothing but carbs and sweets. Good thing I'm from Texas and I love my protein right?!

Anyways! Like with everything, there are lessons to be learned around every corner of life. So in lieu of our Exhbition (and the whole 3 days of training at a time...) here's 3 things I have learned!


Teams have individuals who have different strengths and weaknesses. Each person within a team brings something to the table that no one else can. That's America. When we work together, we can move mountains. Work by yourself, and things won't work.


That doesn't mean you have to go where you don't want to. It means you have to push yourself further than you think you can. I struggle with this daily. I don't like things to be difficult, to be hard. I don't enjoy breathing heavy, or my muscles burning, or turning down that dessert. I fail at being uncomfortable sometimes. I fail at pushing past what I want to do for what I should do. No one is perfect, but I have to try and get as close as possible. Being a good athlete means striving for perfection. Being a good person means striving for perfection. Perfection isn't the same for everyone, and it doesn't have to be impossible.


Apologies for the small swear word, however, this is totally true. Synchronized Swimming isn't exactly recognized as an art form all the time, but is very similar to dance and life alike. As a soloist, I connect to the music so that those around me can connect to it as well. Sometimes it's not what everyone likes, sometimes you can't even connect to it yourself. What I have to do, is just dance. I can choose how I react to changes in tempo and music, and I can choose how I react to coaches corrections and scores from judges. You can't control what life throws at you, but you can control if an when you dodge. 

Stay tuned! We're in Riverside for 3 more training days, then we head to Toronto for the Pan American Games!!! I'll do my best to take pictures so you can feel like you're there as well. Wish us luck!